Peter Dolukhanov is a renowned technologist and board advisor to Upgrade Pack. He has worked with and helped create digital platforms and applications for many globally recognised brands for over eight years as a founder of Nice Agency, which was acquired by creative agency Karmarama in 2014, now part of Accenture Interactive. Peter recently launched Decoded Consulting, a modern technology leadership practice offering CTO services.
Having been in software and technology design for twenty years, you’ve had a front row seat in the field advancement of software design. What’s been the biggest evolution?
The biggest advancement is the sheer scope of creativity and flexibility companies are able to have when designing product and solutions today, which continues to improve a user’s experience.
In the mid-2000s during my early career, the introduction of Adobe Flex was a watershed moment for designers to move towards more intricate, user-friendly software products. Before that, software, which was predominantly desktop-based, was designed with functionality as the priority, giving little to the user in terms of an enjoyable and value-driven journey.
Since then, technology has advanced to the point where we’re spoilt for choice. Today companies are able to create products with user experience a fundamental part of the design phase. Ultimately this has enabled the delivery of much richer user experiences, particularly on mobile.
What defining trends are taking place right now?
I’m fascinated by the evolving nature of software and digital within retail, particularly the dynamic between the physical store and online commerce. Paramount to this is the relationship between the physical and digital and how to maximise the user journey in both.
I’ve seen first-hand the challenge retailers, particularly traditional, are facing when it comes to digitising their business and the amount of time, effort and investment it requires. This is in comparison with a brand like Apple who are consistently designing and launching seamless customer products and have the resources to keep pioneering experiences the consumer values. A good example are the new Apple stores where a customer can walk in, pick a product off the shelf, pay for it on their phone and walk out of the store. It feels strange now, but chances are it will soon become the norm in retail.
It goes beyond payments too. Businesses like Apple are able to leverage data to design the optimum layout and makeup of their physical stores for the consumer, making the user journey and experience frictionless, simple and rewarding in the physical store and online (as they always have been).
What are the essentials when creating and launching a new mobile experience?
Testing. Software affords companies the ability to conduct thorough and regular user testing and validate their value proposition before making the full investment to build a fully-fledged product.
I have seen, and continue to see companies invest in products, only to discover after launch that there is a mismatch between what their users want and what was built.
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) methodology isn’t anything new, but today companies can be very purist, designing only the most basic functionality needed to discover if they have a worthwhile idea. Once they do, digital tools and software then enable the ability to very quickly release product, further test, iterate, gain feedback and repeat. This enables companies to work efficiently and leanly before launching a fully realised product.
What does the future of mobile user experience look like?
Technology continues to advance at an amazing pace. For instance, the mobile phone today is faster than the Cray-2 Supercomputer used by Deep Blue that beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov.
The continued progression of AI, cloud computing and mobile will be the biggest influencers over the user experience in the future. The combination of AI locally in a device, (which is highly valuable for consumer’s data security), massive cloud computational power and improved speed and latency due to 5G will enable the delivery of great personalised mobile experiences.
As discussed with JP in the previous In conversation with, personalisation will also see huge growth in the immediate future. The use of data will enable companies to design and launch products that deliver personalisation on a much more powerful level to the point where a whole interface is completely tailored to the user.