In the dynamic landscape of Salesforce, the convergence of User Experience (UX) Design and Architecture is gaining prominence, prompting architects to delve into the realm of UX. The introduction of User Experience Designer and Strategy Designer certifications has sparked discussions around the vital role UX plays in crafting holistic solutions. While architects traditionally focus on technical capabilities and implementation, UX designers specialize in creating intuitive interfaces.
In this article, we’ll explore the collaborative synergy between user experience designers and architects, highlighting how their combined efforts lead to seamlessly integrated, user-friendly solutions. This article will show how architects can enhance the success of projects through efficient, scalable, and sustainable designs. Through a user-centric approach and early incorporation of UX design, architects can drive ROI, increase user satisfaction, and pave the way for long-term project success.
User Experience Designers vs. Architects
The recent focus on user experience design in Salesforce, highlighted by the introduction of certifications like User Experience Designer and Strategy Designer, has sparked a valuable conversation within the architect community. Having personally completed both certifications, I advocate for architects to embrace UX design, especially in their journey to becoming a Certified Technical Architect (CTA).
When I started creating process and journey maps from CTA scenarios, it really was a game-changer in how I came up with my solutions and presented my designs. I always encourage architects, especially those on their journey to CTA, to get familiar with UX Design since it can really drive the creation of holistic solutions. I’ve done some sessions teaching people about how to incorporate journey mapping into solution design. In particular, “User Experience and Journey Mapping” is helpful for those pursuing the CTA.
The synergy between architects and UX designers is evident as they collaborate to seamlessly integrate visual and technical elements, resulting in cohesive, user-friendly solutions. Despite differing areas of expertise, both roles converge on considering user needs, business requirements, and personas, showcasing the pivotal collaboration that ensures functional and aesthetically pleasing systems.
Architects, traditionally focused on technical capabilities and implementation, benefit from understanding UX principles, as demonstrated by the transformative impact of incorporating journey mapping into solution design. This collaborative approach addresses the overlap in responsibilities, such as optimizing user interactions and creating intuitive interfaces. By working together, UX designers and architects enhance the overall project, ensuring solutions are not only technically robust but also align with user goals and objectives. This collaboration fosters the creation of tailored, holistic solutions that prioritize both functionality and user satisfaction.
User Interaction and Adoption
UX design is integral for shaping how users interact with a system, influencing crucial technical and architectural considerations in project development. Architects must prioritize understanding user interactions to guide their decisions effectively. Focusing on the user flow within the system, architects can identify areas for streamlining and simplification, enhancing overall user experience and task completion.
The role of UX in driving user adoption is emphasized, stressing the importance of aligning architectural decisions with user needs for successful projects. Architects should build solutions that meet user expectations while leveraging pre-built platform features efficiently. In essence, good architecture complements user experience and usability, ensuring a seamless and effective workflow for users.
UX is crucial in driving user adoption, which should be a key driver for how something is built. If it’s not built well for the users and they aren’t using it, then why would the architecture even matter at that point? Good architecture drives user adoption, user experience, and usability. You don’t want your users going to five different places to complete a task so using something such as a guided flow or LWC can be more effective.
To create a successful user experience, it’s essential for architects to understand the end user’s expectations. They should aim to build solutions that meet these expectations within the platform’s capabilities. Sometimes, the way a platform works can impact the user experience, and architects should take advantage of pre-built platform features to achieve the same end result in a different, more efficient way. Understanding what the users will actually be doing can inform decisions about using out-of-the-box solutions or something more complex such as LWC and Apex.
Process and Journey Mapping
Architects should prioritize solving problems from a user perspective, ensuring a holistic solution that addresses gaps in the user experience. To better understand end users, architects should consider who they are, what they do, and why.
Process and journey mapping can be employed to grasp the user journey and data flow, informing architects about necessary objects, object relationships, and potential high-touchpoint objects leading to Large Data Volumes (LDV). Through this mapping, integration touchpoints for process and data requirements become apparent, facilitating seamless integration of systems and data sharing, impacting the user experience. They can also decide if an integration needs to be synchronous or if it can be pushed to a more performant asynchronous pattern.
Architects must also consider user journeys and design solutions meeting user requirements from onboarding to regular use, streamlining task completion by focusing on system flow and ensuring a successful end-to-end user experience.
Here’s a simple example of a process map from one of the Salesforce Trailhead modules:
Taking a user-centric approach helps architects identify any record ownership changes that may be necessary and reveal any conversions that might need to take place, such as from Lead to Opportunity or when the Order gets created. This will also help inform some of the security and data visibility requirements. Overall, understanding the end user’s expectations through mapping and process design can help architects build more successful solutions that meet the user’s needs.
Higher Probability of Success
Without taking into consideration how the users will interact with the solution at all touchpoints, the project is at a higher risk of failure since critical steps in the process might get missed.
Architects have a significant responsibility for the success of a project, which is often not fully appreciated. To ensure a higher probability of success, they need to consider the simplest solution that meets the requirements with as little technical debt as possible, while also making the user’s job easier. Sounds simple, right? Architects will frequently find this is the hardest part of any project unless they truly understand what the journey looks like for a user.
As an architect, it’s important to create simple solutions that follow the path of least resistance. By doing so, you can reduce the complexity of the project, making it easier for users to understand and use. This means that architects should be able to understand the end result that needs to be achieved and design the technical solutions accordingly.
In essence, architects should prioritize the user experience by designing solutions that are intuitive, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. By doing so, they can minimize the risk of project failure and increase the likelihood of adoption and success. A well-designed user experience can increase user satisfaction, adoption rates, and ultimately lead to a more successful project overall.
Performance, Scalability, and Usage
Not only do architects need to understand how users will use a system, but they also need to understand how much they will use a system and how much data will be created. They can reduce overall project risk by considering scalability needs and usage in their design.
When focusing on scalability and performance based on user processes, architects can create systems that can handle increased usage and provide more efficient system behavior. An architect might want to consider using UI load testing tools as well, such as LoadRunner or Selenium to test the performance of their designs.
Architects can also design for efficiency and scalability by identifying large data volume objects. Will records need to be archived? If so, how will users interact with that data once it is off platform? It’s one thing to come up with a robust archival strategy, but it’s a whole other strategy to determine how your internal and possibly even external users will then be able to access that data.
By prioritizing efficiency, scalability, and performance when architects and designers work together, they can make it easier and faster for users to accomplish their tasks. This will then translate to providing better experiences all around for the end customers.
Increase ROI Through Sustainability
Another factor in driving the success of a project is to prioritize return on investment (ROI). This can be done through both adoption and sustainable design. A well-designed solution should be viable and successful for organizations, generating long-term value and thinking about ROI from the onset.
One might not think that ROI is an architect’s responsibility, but it really should drive many of the critical decisions that an architect makes. I always tell people that CTAs are secretly thinking about ROI and risk in every decision. You don’t want to come up with a design that won’t work very well a year or two down the road, that’s not flexible and easily extensible for building new functionality. Instead, you want to minimize the amount of potential rework and unwinding of technical debt necessary in the figure in order to support evolving technology and business requirements.
Architects also must consider whether the solution is technically feasible to build and maintain, taking into account the long-term costs and implications of the initial design. Does it even make sense to build? Or should they consider something more out-of-the-box or prebuilt? By doing so, architects can create sustainable designs that are both efficient and cost-effective to build and support.
When incorporating user experience design early in the design process, architects can save time and resources by avoiding costly redesigns and ensuring that the final product meets the needs of users. For example, an architect may use wireframes or prototypes with the help of the UX designer to test and refine the design, incorporating user feedback into the final product to get a more desirable result.
Ultimately, architects should prioritize creating designs that maximize ROI and provide long-term value to the organization. By taking a holistic view of the project, and considering its technical feasibility, long-term costs, and overall value, architects can help ensure the success of the project while also driving ROI through sustainable design.
In short, user experience design is essential for architects because it provides a framework for understanding how people will interact with the solution they are designing and building. By prioritizing user experience with the help of a UX designer, architects can create systems that are not only functional and efficient, but also intuitive and enjoyable to use.