Recently, we read an article about how bad design had killed a little girl. Three nurses had missed an alert that was not clear in the new software. Death is always sad, but when it could have been avoided it is downright heartbreaking. Everything that can be tested, should be tested. If someone had taken the time to test the UX of the hospital's new software, a young life could have been spared.
Technology is meant to make our jobs easier. However, chances are that none of those nurses would agree. So what went wrong in the story discussed in the article above? We may not know for sure, but there is a good possibility that no one tested the new software with the nurses that would be using it.
When creating something new, no matter what it is - software, a consumer product, etc - you should always have the end user in mind. However, thinking about the end user is not enough - you have to test what you are making every step of the way.
Our philosophy is release early and release often. This can be said another way - test early and test often. Each time we release an iteration of an app, we have already tested it with a preliminary user base. Upon release, we watch the end users closely to see if there are blaring problems, like the one mentioned above. We then put our learnings into prioritization for the next iteration of the application.
Typically our apps are not life threatening, but what if everyone treated UX as if it was a life or death situation? There would be a lot less bad UX in this world - and possibly it would save lives. Here's to saving lives... one good UX at a time.