June 29, 2023

Crafting the future of user experience at Assembled

Luke Andrews
Head of UX

Imagine a carpenter's workspace. Each tool is meticulously arranged, and every piece of equipment is in the right place. This arrangement isn't for aesthetics; it's a finely-tuned system, shaped by the carpenter's unique workflow and habits. Everything is at the ready, not merely for comfort, but for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

This is how we approach user experience (UX) problems at Assembled. We're not designing a one-size-fits-all product. We're creating a robust, adaptable workspace.

Like that carpenter's workshop, our platform is built to allow users to configure it to their specific needs, making it a personalized tool they can master and adapt to their individual workflows. This reflects our core belief that UX isn't just about making software look good — it's about making it work brilliantly for every user.

Why UX matters in WFM

In the realm of modern business software, the importance of user experience can’t be understated. The standards set by consumer-class software have permeated into enterprise-class software. Consequently, today’s users expect software that’s sleek and intuitive — not software that’s confusing and clumsy.

This is especially true for businesses whose operations rely on mission-critical software. In workforce management (WFM), the software we build is not a luxury; it's an absolute necessity. 

The volatility of the past few years has highlighted the importance of customer service in the context of overall business success. Between the need to foster customer loyalty and the proliferation of customer reviews, customer support has become a focus for companies across industries — and a complicated one, at that. Today’s businesses are managing multiple support channels, diverse customer profiles, and extended support hours with teams distributed worldwide.

This reality brings with it an elevated responsibility to get the UX right. If our customers struggle to use our software effectively, they won't be able to deliver the level of service their customers depend on — it’s as simple, and as critical, as that. We treat this as a driving force behind our design philosophy.

The Assembled difference

Many software solutions in the workforce management sphere still adhere to design principles from decades past. They're slow, clunky, and often fail to address the modern user’s needs. At Assembled, we've taken a forward-thinking approach anchored in the present and focused on the future, so our software can grow and adapt alongside our users’ expectations.

We aspire for our platform to be fast and easy to navigate. We recognize that speed and responsiveness are integral components of a great experience.

We don’t shy away from complexity, but we aim to make it approachable to users with different levels of experience. We realize that our users range from agents and managers to workforce managers, directors, and VPs — each of whom brings unique expectations.

Our ultimate aim is to simplify the path to achieving the desired outcome with our software, requiring less training than with our competitors, irrespective of our users’ technical understanding. Why? Because we're committed to fostering a relationship with our customers — guiding them every step of the way, not just getting them up and running.

Our focus on speed, along with a rich yet understandable interface, aims to save time and reduce the learning curve — a goal our users greatly appreciate.

Assembled’s UX principles

Our unique approach to UX design centers on several key principles, including:

  • Configurability: While it’s essential for our software to be simple and easy to use, the domain of workforce management itself is inherently complex. We also recognize that most of our users spend a lot of time interacting with our software. As such, configurability lies at the core of our design ethos, allowing users to fine-tune their software environment to their preferred workflow and operational needs. This includes the ability to switch between light and dark themes or adapt automatically to your operating system’s setting.
  • Data density: In a world where design trends tend toward minimalism and simplicity, every inch of our interface is thoughtfully constructed to deliver the maximum amount of data possible. Of course, it’s not just about cramming in data; it's about intelligently organizing it to create a high-density landscape that's digestible and actionable. By presenting a more detailed view, we aim to enable users to make informed decisions faster, minimizing time spent searching for necessary data.
  • Desktop-first design: Our users aren’t typically working from their phones. They’re at their desks, often on widescreen displays, handling complex tasks. Assembled's focus on desktop optimization is not an arbitrary choice, but a deliberate design decision rooted in the real-life use cases of our user base. From keyboard-friendly interfaces to intricate functionalities that can be harnessed with a few keystrokes, our focus is on enabling our users to accomplish more, faster.

Staying responsive to feedback

We have a saying here at Assembled: “Feedback is a gift.” This ethos permeates every aspect of our business, and UX is no exception. Of course, making sense of all the feedback we receive from cross-functional teams and our customers is a unique challenge of its own.

Internally, we understand that good communication is fundamental in achieving this — and we're keen to ensure that this isn't limited to our product team. We involve stakeholders from various roles at the start of every key project, making them active participants in the process. They serve as the 'voice of the customer,' providing insights into how customers would perceive and interact with our product.

This expansive, cross-functional approach works to our advantage. Our customer teams, including the customer success and support teams, play an integral part in our alpha and beta launches. Acting as internal testers, they help us validate the functionality of our solutions, confirm the absence of bugs, and most importantly, ascertain that we're solving the right problems. They act as the link between us and our customers, facilitating their participation in beta programs.

We also involve our sales team at an early stage, as they are critical in helping us understand if our product would resonate with the market. Their insights are invaluable, giving us a better understanding of what we can actually sell.

A partnership-first approach

We get a lot of feedback from our customers — and that’s something we’re grateful for. It means our customers are excited to see our product grow and develop. They appreciate the opportunity to influence improvements and are willing to put their trust in us. 

Rather than merely addressing feedback from the loudest or most eager users, we’ve established mechanisms that allow us to approach feedback democratically. Users can share their feedback through a tool that enables other customers to vote. 

Our customer support and success teams play a crucial role here as well, distilling the vast array of feedback into broader themes that we can prioritize and act upon. We know we can’t build every feature, so we want to make sure we’re working on the most critical ones at any given moment.

Finally, to close the loop, we replay our interpretation of the feedback back to our users to ensure we’re all on the same page. This constant dialogue creates a bond of trust and partnership — a characteristic we humbly believe is unique to Assembled.

Accessibility and inclusion

Inclusivity and accessibility aren’t just buzzwords at Assembled, they’re baked into our product design. Our UX Foundations team works tirelessly to ensure our platform accommodates as many people as possible — from those with color vision impairment to those who prefer keyboards over mice to those who require different text sizes.

From the onset, we strive to be mindful of diverse user abilities. Our team puts significant effort into making our interface not only visually appealing but also cognitively accessible. We place high importance on font sizing, color contrast, and user-friendly interaction cues so our platform is readable, understandable, and intuitive for all.

But accessibility extends beyond just the physical realm; it also involves considering varying degrees of technical proficiency. Our software caters to a broad spectrum of users, ranging from those who are comfortable writing code and making API requests to those who are less comfortable with complex interfaces or enjoy data presented with charts instead of tables. We design with all these user personas in mind, ensuring that our platform remains intuitive and learnable irrespective of the user's proficiency level.

Additionally, we embrace a 'universal design' mindset. We believe that solutions designed to benefit users with specific needs often end up being beneficial for everyone. By incorporating such features, we not only cater to the needs of the few but enhance the overall user experience for all, fostering a more inclusive user environment.

Lastly, we are committed to ongoing learning and improvement in this area. We listen, we learn, and we iterate, continuously striving to make our platform more accessible and inclusive. Because at Assembled, we sincerely believe that a good user experience is not a privilege, but a right everyone should enjoy.

See us in action.

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