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Designing software that is ‘effective’

When we design software that is effective, there are plenty of things to consider.

We all want software that brings value to the consumer, but what we consider to be valuable needs to align with the consumer’s needs, not just what we think the users’ needs might be. 

The task of designing effective software might be something you’re working on now, or something you’ve had to pause, but regardless there are plenty of things to consider.

 

Measuring ‘effectiveness’

When asking yourself ‘what makes software truly useful’, the first thing you may want to know is how you will measure ‘usefulness’.There are different ways to measure the effectiveness of software. 

 

1. You could measure named users

This is simply a measure of how many users have created a login, or measure downloads & registrations. This is a very common way to measure your software’s popularity, but still does not measure for usefulness. Once users have downloaded or registered, do you know how many users are fulfilling the task they set out to on the site?

 

2. You could measure concurrent users

 The amount of users that are simultaneously using your software at the same time  is sometimes used as a measure of efficacy, but it only tells you how many people have tried the software- not how many people actively use it on a regular basis, or even really how valuable it is to users who do use it.

 

3. You could measure Net Promoter Score

 Another alternative is to measure NPS, or how likely a user is to recommend the product to a friend. This is a decent proxy, as many people won’t recommend it unless they like it. However, this score can be manipulated and does not give enough detail as to why your product is desirable or how it could be improved. If your product is extremely specific, as can happen with healthtech, the likelihood of someone recommending it to friends and family would decrease.

 

4. You could measure in monetary terms

 We might measure how much money you’re receiving, your profit, or how much money customers save by using your product, but not everything can be reduced to monetary terms. You will of course still want to measure for this, but it is not in and of itself indicative of the effectiveness of your product. 

 

5. You could measure for a specific function

 Instrumentation software measures the amount of users who perform a specific task within the software. For instance, if you have booking software where plenty of people sign up but nobody commits to a booking, your software is unlikely to be effective booking software. If you have banking software and lots of people sign up to it but not many people conduct transactions, it is possibly not very useful (or not performing the function you expected i.e. people use it to check their bank balance but nothing else).

What we are looking at here in software effectiveness is this: what drives value? 

The key is knowing whether the software delivers the effect we set out to achieve. All of these forms of measurement are useful in their own right, but none of them give a fully formed picture of whether or not your software product delivers the value it set out to achieve.

 

Purposeful design

Frequently, we think we have the idea in our heads exactly as it should be for the consumer. Reconsider any assumptions you may have and research carefully to fully uncover the needs of your audience. 

It is essential for purposeful design to consider this. 

When you have considered the jobs that need to be done, built your software with purpose, and measured for efficacy, you are far more likely to have a successful outcome. 

How can we help?

If you have a business idea you would like to discuss, please get in touch with our CEO and founder, Greg Smart.

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