When Usability and UxD pays off

I’m standing outside in the cold London night looking for a Taxi. Adrenaline still rushing through my veins and for some reason I just can’t stop smiling… I feel like a kid on xmas, only sheer exhaustion keeps me from jumping up and down. In my bag is an award for Best of show at Finovate Europe 2011.

The past hours went by so fast… I’m trying to gather my thoughts and re-playing all the conversations I just had in my head. Show’s over folks, it’s time to go home.

Seven minutes to shine

My company, Meniga, was very fortunate to be one of the select few to present at Finovate Europe. An interesting concept where 35 of the most innovative companies in financial eBusiness technology get to demo their products on stage for seven minutes. Followed with the opportunity to network with the 400+ attendees, including banks, analysts & reporters.

The moment we got off stage we knew that our seven minute demo was a success. I immediately pulled out my mobile and starting reading the comments on Twitter… and boom!

The verdict was in

Being almost the last ones to demo at 4 PM we knew the crowd had had a long day and seen many other PFM’s prior to ours. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

@sytaylor “Meniga, of all the PFM, this one is the winner. Just look at it. I’d buy it”@jorisvangaal “Meniga defo top of league amongst PFM presos. Something to keep watch on”@sytaylor “I want my bank to use Meniga, that’s the best compliment I can give!”@lulveseth “Best PFM of the day in terms of features…"
@dngusev ”…Making PFM proactive and human.“
@danmux ”…Best UI yet"

and a few more followed later in the day @sjl @leimer

The response on the floor when the attendees rushed to our booth was amazing.

“Your product looks great” How do you do it?“
"You must spend a lot of money on design”
“It’s so simple, yet it tells me so much about my finances”

But here’s the thing… we don’t spend a lot of money on graphic design. It is an important factor and we do work with some of the best designers in the business but…

Usability and user experience is what comes first, even if it means cutting features. This is what sets us apart and this is what makes our clients love the product and resulted in us being voted as Best of show.

The power of less

When it comes to usability and user experience design it’s really a question of how you approach your product. You need to consider if every single item you put in front of the user is absolutely necessary… if it’s not, remove it! Same thing goes with content and help text.

Find what really matters and make it prominent

What is the single most important thing you’re trying to convey to the user? Is it hidden in a field of data? Remove the clutter. Find the 20% that actually matters.

Charts are not a silver bullet

Charts are a nice visual element but most people aren’t used to reading them and I know some people fear them. Use them with care and only when they provide actual real value.

Test, rinse & repeat

We usability test our product every month following Steve Krug’s Rocket Surgery methodology. It only takes half a day, we test three users & the whole company sits down to watch the tests as they happen and take notes. Then we discuss, prioritize and fix.

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