In recent years, developing a great user experience has become critical for success in software development. With so many different options for products, users have the power and freedom to choose to use those companies with which they have the best experience.

“UX is an established discipline,” said Jason Moccia, CEO of OneSpring. “It has been around for many years in the software development space. I think what’s happening now, and will happen over the next year or two, is it is becoming a more important component of the software development life cycle.” Companies are beginning to understand that if customers have a bad experience interacting with their product, they may not return. Having a bad user interface can be just as bad for business as having a bad product.

More recently, customer experience, or CX, has also been gaining popularity as a new trend in application development. “When I think of the definition between both of them, I think of CX as the kind of emotional side of how customers interact with a company, whereas UX is all about interaction,” said Moccia. The UX is what drives a customer or user to use a product, but the CX aspect is how that interaction makes them feel.

According to Moccia, a key part of CX is the journey map. which follows the journey of a customer as he or she interacts with a company’s product. In UX, they look at ‘personas,’ which are essentially representations of users. Both are very important to look at and take into consideration when developing software.

UX/CX are increasingly important especially due to the impact they can have on the success of a product. “What you are trying to do is impact the bottom line,” Moccia told SD Times. “You are trying to increase the emotional positivity somebody will have while interacting with your company.”

Now that UX/CX is so crucial to building software that users will love, how can companies fit it into their existing development cycle without having to reinvent the wheel? Moccia said that companies are still trying to figure out where CX fits in their organization. Since it is a relatively new concept, working it into organizations can be tricky. “I think over the next year there is going to be more of a definition within organizations on what CX is, what it looks like for a company, and who oversees CX within that company,” said Moccia.

According to Moccia, understanding the roles and responsibilities in regards to UX/CX is a challenge for many. Depending on what development life cycle discipline you follow, UX/CX will be addressed at different points. He gave the example of Agile development, where UX and usability testing would typically come after development. They said they are seeing more companies bringing UX/CX to the front and building a prototype to show to product users and then developing on that prototype. “You have to adapt to an organization and what they are trying to achieve on the customer experience side and make sure you get that right before you start building,” said Moccia.

Moccia says that development teams need to be open-minded to different disciplines in order to be successful in implementing good UX/CX. “There is a lot more that goes into it up front so when we talk to developers about it there is a general resistance because it alters the premise of Scrum in their mind,” he told SD Times.

“In software there is somewhat of a resistance because they look at it as a waterfall and what I always tell people is that it is not waterfall, you can still break apart user experience into iterative, bite-sized portions,” says Moccia. “We’re going to focus on just one portion of an application and really get that right and then give it to the development team to build and then we will focus on another one. So there are ways to slice this and I would say the challenge for developers, just being open to that and working really with an end in mind.”

About Jenna Sargent

Jenna Sargent is an Online and Social Media Editor for SD Times. She covers Agile, ALM, Java, microservices/containers, testing/QA, application performance monitoring/management, and security. Follow her on Twitter at @jsargey!