Our goal is to optimize the business value and ROI in new technology product initiatives through superior strategy and product experience.
How We’re Different
1. Focused Expertise. We specialize in great UX and Product Strategy- nothing else- and we’ve been doing this since 1996.
2. Business Results Focus. We don’t just do UX to satisfy users or make cool things- our goal is to create products and services that deliver great business performance for our clients based on the metrics that matter to them.
3. Analysis. We don’t just mock up an idea- we do extensive research, thoroughly analyze an initiative and ensure it makes sense in a business context.
4. Scale- we’re boutique specialists. We work very closely with you every step of the way, with the benefit of broad outside perspective, experience and breadth. We do startups and small-scale projects as well as very large, complex systems.
5. Flexibility. We can advise and make recommendations, but we don’t change your SDLC or Product Dev. process unless you want us to. We advocate Lean approaches with ample user testing and feedback whenever possible.
Final Client Deliverables: Functional Designs and Product Roadmap Documents
The best analogy for the value of the kinds of services Oxford Technology Ventures, LLC provides comes from the physical world of buildings. Just as one wouldn’t build a skyscraper without a mechanical engineer and an architect who collectively offer a product vision, a development plan and a feasibility review of the proposed new building, so one shouldn’t invest in an Internet, mobile or software presence or product without an equivalent digital “functional architect”. This is why many UCD and Usability professionals often call themselves Information Architects.
Our consulting final deliverables are typically functional designs that are very similar to architectural blueprints for buildings and provide the implementation teams with visual, spatial and functional roadmaps for the project.
A User-Centered Design Approach to Technology Product Development
We advocate a User-centered Design (UCD) approach to technology product development whenever possible that ensures Usability is a key priority or focus of the product development lifecycle. As defined by Wikipedia , UCD is
“a design philosophy and a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of the end user of an interface … are given extensive attention …[through] a multi-stage problem solving process that not only requires designers to analyze and foresee how users are likely to use an interface, but also to test the validity of their assumptions with regards to user behavior in real world tests with actual users….
The chief difference from other interface design philosophies is that user-centered design tries to optimize the user interface around how people can, want, or need to work, rather than forcing the users to change how they work to accommodate the software developers’ approach”.
Why Usability and User-Centered Design are Critical for Business Success
Usability and UCD are essential components for product development because these approaches help to ensure the right product is being developed for the project at hand. It’s a “best tool for the job” diagnostic process that conceptualizes exactly how a new product will meet the target business or operational goals, needs and metrics, based on with the right selection of features, priorities, interface, system architecture and process flows for a specified set of users and user needs.
In essence, Usability and UCD help ensure the business and operational success of any technology project. As the UPA notes, “The business benefits of adding usability to a product development process include:
* Increased productivity
* Increased sales and revenues
* Decreased training and support costs
* Reduced development time and costs
* Reduced maintenance costs
* Increased customer satisfaction.”
Conversely, excluding UCD typically leads to: lost revenue; low customer adoption; costly and inefficient processes and systems being developed that become an operational drag; or difficult-to-use and overly complex systems being created that, by virtue of attempting to offer all things to all users, end up serving no one.
Overall, the total business and product launch cost of not including usability and User Experience in the development process is typically exponentially higher than the up-front expense of proper conceptualization and planning and subsequent further refinements from user testing through the UCD product development approach.