I recently sat down for a Q&A with Josh Randall, the Director of UI Design at Edify. Josh’s background has always been in design, whether it be websites, logos, ads, or massive exhibit halls. No matter the medium or field, he is a master at knowing how to make something easy to use and navigate while being aesthetically pleasing. Prior to Edify, Josh was the Art Director for Interactive Intelligence and was also Creative Director at another contact center software company. Here’s what he had to say about designing the industry’s best looking user interface.
Josh - What's it like to design an interface that makes it easier for customer care agents to do their jobs?
My 20+ years of designing has led up to this point where I’m now focusing purely on user interface design. I strongly believe that creating a good user experience involves stepping back and considering the process from a human perspective. You need to ensure that what you’re creating will make sense to the end user. It’s easy for me to connect with the Edify solution because I’m a customer, too, so customer service is something that impacts me regularly.
My work experience has given me the opportunity to really look at and learn about the contact center industry, see what’s out there for agents to use, and recognize what a lot of the current issues are within many other interfaces. With this knowledge I’ve been able to design a streamlined solution for Huddle, resolving the issues of other call center software interfaces and making an attractive interface that's easy for agents to use.
What's it like to be responsible for creating such an important solution that frontline agents and back office employees have (and want) to use every day at work?
To be honest, I constantly worry about the responsibility of this! It’s a massive responsibility, because like you said, it’s something that users look at day in and day out. It can’t be overly simplistic nor too complex. A great interface needs to be simple, functional, and visually interesting. You have to use color wisely, treat spacing properly, justify every decision of a layout, and think about the user journey from essentially every aspect possible.
Being a contact center agent is a really hard job and, on top of that, most people hate the software they use at work. You’ve essentially created the “apple computing experience” but for contact center agents. How did you do it? And why does it matter so much?
My experience in the contact center space over the last decade has taught me so much. I’ve been able to see firsthand where other companies have gone wrong and why customers, agents, and back office employees have historically hated their customer service and unified communications software solutions. In the past, aside from solutions being siloed, engineers were acting as designers. Software was overly complicated and difficult to navigate for end-users. I believe you need true designers to create a perfect UI (not engineers), and those designers have to get in the mindset of an agent in order to be successful. In this role, you have to understand what’s important to agents and what makes sense from a layout perspective by taking into account their day-to-day interactions with customers.
People making the buying decisions don’t have to use the software. So, a lot of times, what sells CIOs, CTOs, and CEOs on certain solutions in the marketplace are the reporting and other high-level features THEY want. But they forget to look at how a new piece of software will impact their agents day-to-day. They want the numbers and reports on their desks, but forget to consider agent usage and what their people actually need to accomplish their tasks. A recent newsletter by Shira Ovide in The New York Times explained why peoples’ workplace software stinks. Shira said, “[Historically] The most important quality of technology for businesses is whether a boss can be convinced to buy it, not whether you like it. It’s dreary but true.” Leaders must take the employee experience (EX) into account when looking at business communications solutions.
Customer service is an important job. And a difficult one. Technology solutions can impact turnover, too, whether it be for the better or worse. And so the decision-makers at companies everywhere need to empower their people across all departments to do their jobs better with an interface that’s easy - and even enjoyable - to use.