Regardless of how brilliant or innovative a solution may be, if the user experience (UX) is bad or frustrating, it won’t reach its full potential. UX applies where there are users, and that means it applies everywhere. There is value in a positive UX at all levels. It applies in a product, in an AV system built out of multiple products, and in the user interface for that system.
While most people can identify a bad UX, it can be difficult to define good UX. At Biamp, creating a great user experience is a primary focus. When we began developing Oreno™, our new mobile control software for Tesira®-equipped conference rooms, a delightful UX was a top priority because we knew that we would be putting it into the hands of non-technical users who have more important things to do than figure out how technology works.
What is the Story of a Meeting?
Before we thought about buttons, colors, and other standard elements of a user interface, we wanted to consider what really happens in a meeting, and we wanted to map the user journey. How do participants behave? What are the tasks people perform? What happens before, and after a meeting? We knew these were important factors to study in order to understand the context in which Oreno or any user interface would be accessed. To accomplish this, we collaborated with Blink UX, a world-class user experience design firm. Blink created a workflow and used it to observe frustrations, understand pain points, and find gaps in the current product paradigm to determine where Biamp could potentially help.
One of the more interesting things we learned from the interview exercise was that although people are typically considerate, most do not tidy up the room or turn off devices upon concluding the meeting and leaving. As a result, the room is not set up for the next person who uses it, requiring that person to perform those functions before getting started. This common phenomenon causes frustration and wasted time. Oreno’s “end meeting” button is a direct result of this insight. Pressing the end meeting button automatically resets the room to its default state. This button ends the call, turns the devices off, and returns the audio levels to designated settings. Pressing end meeting will also unlock the room, allowing the next person to make any necessary changes. While it can’t push the chairs back in or recycle empty soda cans left behind by previous inhabitants, the end meeting button provides a clean slate for the next person who uses the meeting room.
Interviewing people isn’t enough. Blink and Biamp knew we had to allow users to experience and test a product in real time in order to achieve a truly useful and delightful UX. We knew which Tesira blocks we wanted Oreno to control, and Blink sketched several user interface ideas, layouts, and concepts. With those initial designs in place, we asked volunteers to test prototypes in a real conference room setting. We used cameras and recording software to observe participants’ hand movements, facial reactions, emotional reactions, and verbal comments related to the prototypes, and used this feedback to fine-tune the final interface. The process of testing a product and obtaining feedback is vital for reducing mistakes, confusion, and user misunderstanding while meeting customer expectations.
We recognize that UX development is an iterative process, and nothing is ever fully finished. No interface is perfect and improvements are always possible. Among Oreno’s unique attributes is that it allows integrators to show their customers the user interface early on in the implementation process, so those customers can learn about what to expect from the software, provide feedback, and request potential changes.
Biamp made the decision to focus on UX because we recognized the value – to our integrators and to their customers – in doing so. We understood we couldn’t simply launch a new touch screen interface for laptops and mobile devices without customer feedback. At Biamp, we always strive to be better. Thanks to our research and testing, a systems integrator can quickly, easily, and cost-effectively deploy a UX that is effective, efficient, and positive. Because we have taken care of the UX aspect, the systems integrator can stick to his or her expertise in designing media systems. We know integrators have less time per installation to produce wonderful, fully-functional, and easy-to-use AV systems compared to five years ago, and the technology is becoming more complicated. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping integrators save time without compromising quality, by offering a WYSIWYG environment that can deliver a delightful UX.
Oreno allows you to promote the idea of a good User Experience to your customers and to help them visualize that experience to understand its value. Ultimately, Oreno was developed with people in mind. We have set out to provide tools that help everyone – whether it’s your customer the end user or you the AV integrator – do their jobs better.