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How Fresh, First-Hand Research Leads to Interfaces That Make Users Feel Understood

UX fresh perspectives

In 1890, my great-great-grandfather fled Czarist Ukraine for a new home in London. Amongst the few possessions that he brought with him was a book that had been given to him in 1860 by his grandfather.

I was fortunate to have inherited this book – it has a lovingly-worn leather cover, smooth and sturdy, with an inscription that I can’t make out. The pages feel alive, with crisply-printed lettering that you can feel. It has the mark of the official government censor – can you imagine all printed material needing such a thing these days? I could describe this book to you for hours and you would begin to form an idea of what the book looks like. You might even get close to imagining the reality of the book.

But no amount of describing the book could replace the physical experience of holding it and feeling it respond as you turn the pages. It’s like trying to describe the taste of a banana, versus tasting one.

I take the same approach when designing user interfaces that are used across ACI’s solutions. The classic channel for incorporating user feedback in product design usually goes like this: A user tells their manager about their experience, the manager tells a vendor salesperson, the salesperson tells the product manager, and finally the product manager tells the user experience designer. Like the “broken telephone” game, the meaning gets lost, and often the wrong problem gets solved. It’s a big challenge for a designer to be successful in this paradigm.

For many years, I’ve relied on direct user feedback to discover pain points and workarounds, and validate requirements. Observing humans as they attempt to use my design prototypes has resulted in some of the greatest design value that I’ve added to our products – greater efficiency and better user satisfaction, both of which lead to higher productivity. One prime example comes from sessions conducted last year – a user request to make it easier to copy field values to the clipboard resulted in a significant restructuring of a UI. The resulting task flow improvement caused a beta-tester to laugh with delight.

The user interface of ACI’s merchant fraud solution, ReD Shield has been steadily improving over the past several years through the collaborative efforts of ACI team members together with key customers. Through the structured interactions of this ‘Design Partner Program,’ ACI user experience designers regularly visit design partner sites to watch fraud analysts work, and host virtual sessions to validate the design improvements that result.

The success of this approach means that our Design Partner Program concept will be incorporated into the design cycles of other ACI solutions in 2019. If you’re a current customer, check in with your ACI contact to get more information. Perhaps I’ll even bring my eye for UI to your location!

Find out more about ACI’s multi-tiered UP Payments Risk Management solution, which includes a unique combination of patented predictive models, flexible rules engine, automated alerts and processes, business intelligence portal and unrivaled global fraud intelligence – all supported by a team of expert risk analysts.