'UCSE Approach is Business Vertical Agnostic'

by Sharon Lobo    Dec 08, 2009

UCSE (User Centered Software Engineering) is a concept that focuses on
developing applications while keeping the needs of the end-user in mind.
Mandar Bhagwat, CTO & Director, Products & Services, SpadeWorx Software Services, explains UCSE and the benefits it has to offer.

What is UCSE and how does it help in developing more user-friendly applications?
Over the years, the IT industry has been developing applications that has helped enterprises
become more productive, efficient and create futuristic products. However there has always been a lack in the optimum utilization of theses applications by the end users. To resolve such an issue, UCSE is required.

UCSE is a methodology that focuses on developing adaptable and usable software. This new style encompasses contextual experience, usability and rich interactivity. UCSE outlines the user’s demands, challenges, patterns and perceptions. The output matches user expectations and it also helps in business process adoption by end users. Additionally, it reduces re-work, total cost of development, which is the case when users are not comfortable using a particular software or application.

This concept also breaks down a problem and works from front to back to develop a solution. It revamps the existing software and makes it easier for the user and enhances contextual experience. For instance, it makes websites and intranet portals more attractive so more people stick to a particular site or use the portal more frequently and efficiently.

How does UCSE enable in the design and development of effective intranet portals?
Many organizations attempt to use intranet portals to help their employees collaborate and share knowledge more effectively, but few achieve a level of success that matches their initial expectations. Poor user experience due to complex interfaces and tedious navigation results in lower user adoption, hence less collaboration and little knowledge sharing. UCSE enables us to develop rich interactive intranet solutions that allows an organization to unleash the full potential of its intranet.

The focus on usability leads to compelling user experiences and higher adoption levels. The intuitive and expressive document Exchange interface, integration of rich components and addition of web 2.0 features lead to enhanced branding and higher levels of employee collaboration and productivity.

In India, how has the rate of adoption of UCSE been so far and how will it be in future?

The enterprise user exposed to the rich and interactive experiences on the web now expects the same even with the business applications. Indian organizations have realized that focusing on usability and user experience provides rich business returns in terms of higher efficiencies and productivity. These factors are driving the growth of UCSE in the Indian enterprise.   

In the software products space, user experience is increasingly emerging as a strategic differentiator and a key competitive advantage for organizations. Indian companies are increasing their focus on enhancing the usability and user experience of their software products.

Which business verticals are set to benefit the most from UCSE?

UCSE approach is business vertical agnostic, it helps design systems and solutions, which people irrespective of their demographics. I would say that UCSE is a life-cycle of any product or service that helps increase the utility of the product and service and hence the productivity of the users.

For instance, companies in the BFSI space can employ UCSE to bring around the secured, intuitive, simpler, easier and cognitive solutions and user interfaces. While the manufacturing sector can employ UCSE to fill the gaps such as need of specialized skills to handle and manage computer aided machinery. Sports, media and entertainment industry can employ UCSE to render rich experiences with utmost control with the end-users. No matter which industry you are from, you can employ UCSE to increase the productivity of your employees who use IT solutions to enable businesses.

Could you give an example of an Indian company who might have benefited from UCSE?
One of our clients, the Mahindra Group was facing a challenge in terms of the usability and popularity of their existing corporate intranet portal. The adoption levels were low and the users had to spend a high amount of time finding the relevant information. We developed a rich, interactive and user friendly using the UCSE methodology. The new portal resulted in increased adoption and usage, higher business productivity. It also helped foster a culture of innovation and oneness within the organization.