Guest Opinion: IoT UX Design

April 29, 2019 

UX Designers and Researchers today face the challenge of making Human-2-Device interaction as intuitive and simple as possible, for a whole new set of IoT products and services. To understand better what goes into creating optimum experiences in the connected financial services world, Internet of Business met with Gaurav Relhan, Vice President UX Research & Strategy at JPMorgan Chase & Co, to gain his perspective on the evolution of Fintech, UX design, and research practices.

Gaurav Relhan is a research professional with over 12 years experience in the financial sector. Throughout his career, he has leveraged a spectrum of UX research methodologies, from generative to experiential research stages, and consequently driven UX design based on research outcomes. Having also served as a global Internet-of-Things (IoT) and smart cities and transport advisor, Gaurav brings a view from multilateral organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations.

Fintech Innovation
While it is regularly reported that the financial services industry lags behind other sectors when it comes to IoT investment and digital transformation, Gaurav believes that “thanks to Fintech innovations, the future is already here!”

Currently, as a VP of Research and Strategy, Gaurav focuses on improving customer experiences associated with Chase’s digital engagement channels on both web and mobile throughout the product design lifecycle -from shaping the concept, to knowing the audience, all the way to conducting post-launch insights. With years of experience within the financial sector behind him – at Visa, The World Bank, and the IFC – he is pleased with where fintech has come and where it is going.

“Think of using your Alexa to make credit card payments; Amazon’s new cashier-less grocery stores; or just paying for your Tesla’s supercharging. Objectively speaking, these are all success stories in my view and it only keeps getting better.”

He agrees that the next step in fintech innovation is still unclear though, and that “the question is where we go from here? Should financial-sector IoT be seen as a disruptor or also as a job creator? How do we enhance and support IoT-based financial services for all segments of the population, not just for a few?”

Fear of compliance or security breaches has traditionally caused the sector to hesitate and resist tech adoption, and while Gaurav anticipates the realm of data privacy and security as a major area where greater research is needed overall, in the IoT space specifically, he envisions a lot more research associated with improving current user experiences, with a focus on refining APIs and dashboards.

In his opinion, research around “enhancing the current IoT user experience and exploring new financial use cases with all imaginable gadgets and edifices – think of hotels, cars, airlines – this is where the future is headed, especially now with the advent of 5G.”

And What About the Big Picture Questions in IoT UX Design?
Viewing enterprise IoT as a “whole different beast”, Gaurav advises that some essential questions should be asked when approaching IoT UX given the complexity of enterprise IoT.

“A major question is for whom should UX research be performed? Whose UX needs should take precedence? For example, in an industrial setting, the eventual end-users at the production level are often Information technology (IT) personnel and Operational Technology (OT) personnel. Both these user groups have widely disparate requirements and customer journeys, and these themselves differ from one company to another. “

“So given resource constraints, how much UX research should be performed and when is it enough? Who performs it? Should it be the major networking companies that provide the telemetry and networking backbone, or should it be the vendors of software products (which reside on top of the network layer) that end-users eventually use? Or if we are looking at tailored experiences, should it be the end companies themselves that ought to conduct UX research? No easy answers here! “

“Another major question is what should be the standard key criteria associated with measuring the quality of enterprise IoT UX. Error-rate, Time-on-Task, Severity ratings, or something completely else? These are only some of the bigger picture questions because the book on UX in enterprise IoT is still being written! “

“What should be the standard key criteria associated with measuring the quality of enterprise IoT UX. Error-rate, Time-on-Task, Severity ratings, or something completely else?”

UX Research for IoT Optimum UI Experiences
Given the complex ecosystem of IoT, especially in enterprise settings, in Gaurav’s view, “UX research must delineate comprehensive customer journeys across all user segments. This will shed light on the Jobs-To-Be-Done (JTBD) worklist for each segment that will help ensure IoT UI requirements are met for these. Let ‘Hero’ workshops lead to the formation of prototypes upon assessment of happy paths. Then, of course, evaluative research must be conducted on each prototype until requisite KPIs are met. That will ensure IoT UI experiences are optimum for each user segment. “

He warns, “organizations must brace themselves to expend considerable resources and time for driving this process, it won’t be easy! “

“Organizations must brace themselves to expend considerable resources and time for driving this process, it won’t be easy! “

And what about building a prototype that assesses that this research is robust enough to adequately address pain points?

“I feel that research should be performed before creating the all-encompassing prototype (as opposed to creating a prototype first and then performing research). To build such a prototype, research should be conducted across all types of user segments across the ecosystem – networking engineers, IT and OT personnel, senior management (at clients), etc. That way, the respective user empathy maps can feed into creating targeted but amalgamated personas (which highlight pain points) that can guide respective customer journeys leading to JTBD worklists for each segment. The resultant prototype can be subjected to evaluative research at the level of the end-user eventually leading to a uniform product. However, a key trade-off would be a loss of precision when it comes to building tailored experiences. “

UI Strength
Finally, when asked about the IoT product itself, Gaurav points out that “UI ‘strength’ for an IoT product does not differ from other types of products. The key principles remain the same as long as the UI addresses the key requirements of the target audience. In a nutshell, it should conform to the mental mapping of users. I don’t think basic UI principles for IoT dashboards themselves should differ much from other kinds of dashboards. A UI should be intuitive, quick, intelligent, and yet appealing to the user – that’s all that matters.”

Written by Lucy Ashton, Managing Director, Internet of Business.

If you would like to read more of Gaurav Relhan’s insights on the future of IoT UX/UI Design and Research, sign up to be of the first to receive our UX Design eBook.

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Source:: Internet of Business