UX Lifecycle Best Practices

The quest for the perpetual motion machine has been a thing of philosophical, scientific and fantasy musings for a very long time. The ability to construct a system that can function without end and without entropy is a bit of a holy grail in the advancement of man. Everyone seeks this in some form, and this includes technology companies designing Ux software. A system that never becomes dated, never breaks down and never needs maintenance is something we all wish we could create. A UX lifecycle that lasts indefinitely would be fiercely profitable to the company that secured it. But, there’s another side to that coin. If any UX lifecycle could be everlasting, then ways in which user interface, demographic targeting and program identity were approached would stagnate. We’d still be using Windows 3.11 styled interfaces if they were immortal. Marketing campaigns would still work like they did in the 1950s. Media and information delivery would still work like the 1980s BBS systems. The power of modern technology would be there, but the way it presented itself would be nothing like today’s variety and innovation. But, that’s not to say we don’t want to work for lasting ability in our lifecycle with any UX design. Remember, first of all, that UX is not UI, but UI is entirely part of UX. So, while we do want to be concerned with an interface people can happily use for the long haul, there’s a lot more to it than that. Still, since we bring that up, we’ll cover that aspect first. Well, we know that there are some practices with UI that don’t really change, because they are basic tenets of design logic in modern long term computing. Form designs, control uses and presentation templates for user interface that have stood the test of time uncontested to this point will continue to do so. While innovation is important, it’s best to let the heaviest use of the program be supported by tried and true approaches and orderings. This still leaves room for creativity, of course. Beyond UI though, there is more to UX. Compatibility and platform matter a lot in UX today, and a program being able to run on mobile platforms is a severely valuable status symbol. But, this gives you an added layer of durability issues as these devices change rapidly, so implementing software that works well for today’s mobile platforms can never guarantee optimal compatibility with tomorrow’s. So, once more, it’s best to stick with recurring successful implementations, but beyond this, consider rebuilds of the software with updated compilers to not be a sign of lifecycle breakdown when it comes to mobile UX. Optimally, the best way to ensure a long lifecycle with any UX is to allow it to dynamically evolve. This means that it is no longer the same as it once was, but is not spontaneously replaced or re-launched at any point. This means that marketing adapts to changing social attitudes, interfaces allow updating and customization so that users can inherit legacy design that can shape to their generation’s worldview, and it means considering compiling with new builds to just be a normal thing. If you’re publishing SaaS, then these builds are a moot point anyhow. Basically, a longer UX lifecycle is accomplished by first considering UI to only be part of UX, and then factoring in the ability to adapt in all other aspects alongside UI. There is a lot of information out there on very detailed science behind this.
Boaz Amidor is Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to ux blog