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Enterprise UX: the Value of Usability for Enterprise Software

Enterprise UX: the Value of Usability for Enterprise Software

By fintech, UX No Comments

In enterprise application development projects, decision-makers pay a lot of attention to the product functionality, while the end-user experience often takes a back seat. HR portals, task management systems, CRMs, and intranet sites — we all know how cumbersome and frustrating they can be. Oftentimes, companies’ executives see the true value of a decent enterprise UX. After all, they test and examine the tools from a very different perspective than most who’ll use the software every day. Not to mention, training and experience using the corporate software will overcome any lack of intuitive design, won’t it?

This lack of appreciation for intuitive design and usability is, unfortunately, quite common. However, it’s fundamentally wrong and can have significant consequences for any organization. In this article, we’ll explain what enterprise UX design is and why it matters.

The difference between customer UX and enterprise UX

lapton and mobile phone

Before we jump right into the details, let’s outline the basic definitions. Customer UX (or “consumer UX”) is a user experience design that belongs to apps and other digital solutions created for consumers or the general public. Meanwhile, enterprise UX is applied to the internal software of a specific organization and used predominantly by its employees. While the definitions help categorize the different terms, there are greater differences between the two types of UX design.

Scale and landscape

When a design team creates the UX for a customer app, it usually knows only the target audience’s key characteristics such as gender, occupation, age, etc. To study the landscape, UX designers usually do extensive market research. But it doesn’t allow them to identify a specific group of individuals who will use the product. At the same time, the scalability of the software product remains largely unknown until it is put on the market. In other words, there’s quite a lot of uncertainty. That’s why the design process consists of testing and verifying assumptions at different stages.

The situation is the opposite when it comes to designing enterprise software. In this instance, the group of future users is known from the very beginning. When a team works on the enterprise UX design, know who will use a solution. The potential scaling up is also limited to the actual or projected size of one organization. This means that the designers who create enterprise UX need to make full use of the available data.

The role of end-users

The process of building customer-oriented products is guided by user expectations, pain points, and feedback. Although the product idea might not come from those that will use the software most, it’s in the decision-makers' best interest to have a product the users will love. If users’ needs and wants aren’t considered, a product won’t become popular, and it will generate fewer sales or downloads. That’s why significant effort and investment goes into making a product user-friendly and optimizing for customers’ digital experience.

In enterprise projects, either independently commissioned software or as part of a more comprehensive digital transformation process, usability is often misinterpreted in the background. Employees (the majority of end-users) rarely have a choice about corporate business systems, and they rarely have an impact on the product development process of new systems. High-level executives make most of the decisions. And the lens they see and evaluate software is often significantly different from most users. Often skewing toward functional requirements and top-level project management requirements. As a result, corporate software performs all the required functions but are hard-to-use, clunky, sluggish, and ugly.

Why UX is key to enterprise software

teamwork

Companies that exclude usability for the end-user, focusing squarely on product functionality, can potentially save some money when commissioning the software. However, at the end of the day, they lose more over time as they don’t get the advantages that quality enterprise UX design brings. Here are the most important benefits an organization can expect when it factors in end-users’ preferences in the design process.

Improved productivity

Some executives would rather cut corners to save money in development rather than invest in thought-out enterprise UX design because, for them, it’s like throwing money down the drain. This is a misconception. In practice, investments in UX produce a greater cumulative return over time. If corporate software is easy-to-use, it helps employees perform their routine tasks. Consequently, their productivity is higher, which leads to higher revenues for an organization.

Besides, enterprise users usually spend 8-10 hours a day working with the company’s business systems. When such systems have refined enterprise UX design, actions that may take employees 4 to 6 clicks to execute may be done in one click-and-drag motion or 2 clicks. As it’s saving them time every day, it’s bound to have a positive impact on performance over a year.

As a professional design and development agency, we know how the productivity benefit works in practice. After our team created a new enterprise UX design for our client’s KYC platform, its employee productivity has increased by 39 percent.

A better understanding of data

Many employees working at larger corporations have to deal with a huge amount of raw data all the time. A good enterprise UX helps them to understand and process data quickly and effectively. When designers create corporate solutions with end-user needs and the latest UX trends in mind, key insights are much easier to find and understand.

Core enterprise UX components like well-constructed user journeys, dashboards, and data visualization allow employees to grasp the information with minimum effort. Empowering them to make better informed decisions and avoid mistakes. This applies to employees regardless of position, as decision-making is simplified within each area of responsibility.

Simplified internal cooperation

Effective cooperation is a key to the success of any group activity, and enterprise workflows are no exception. But it can be a real challenge when a development team builds corporate software without paying much attention to enterprise UX. Imagine, for example, that an enterprise product has a chat, but its user experience design is really bad. Employees can send each other messages but it takes five steps to find the message, open it, write a reply, and send it. Is such a business system going to be a help or obstacle? It’s quite obvious.

Good enterprise UX design should consider both employees’ overall behavior and micro-actions to make the teamwork barrier-free and efficient. In the post-COVID-19 era, it’s even more important due to the global shift to remote work. Essentially, designers who create enterprise UX should figure out how to make interactions within the software system resemble real-life interactions and environments as much as possible.

What to keep in mind when designing an enterprise application

In general, the enterprise and consumer UX have a lot in common in terms of design approaches and stages of creation. But still, enterprise app development projects have some specifics that UX designers must be aware of. To best illustrate this, we’ll discuss one of our relevant projects.

Our enterprise UX project was related to the fintech sector. The client, a financial institution, came to us with the request to create a new user experience design for its KYC (Know Your Client/Customer) platform. A core aspect of the project is that it’s mandatory for banks to verify the identity of individuals they provide services to. The process is called “know your client,” and employees involved in it constantly process an excessive amount of data. In short, our main task was to make the complex data easier to follow for the client’s financial officers. Here is how we accomplished it.

User research

An enterprise UX design system should be based on a deep understanding of user needs. Although the company’s executives and project managers may know for sure what a system must do, user research is still necessary to figure out how it should do it. The good news for UX designers is that a target audience is always defined and reachable. But unlike customer apps that often support a few-step process (think of Uber), enterprise solutions focus on rather complicated workflows. So, determining user roles and studying their pain points requires an all-round approach.

On our fintech project, the first thing we did was user research. We asked the employees about their working routine and the tasks they need to complete to do their part in the KYC process. Based on this information, our team divided all employees into user roles (i.e., the analyst, manager, case coordinator, KYC head, administrator, and auditor). We also determined the core user (i.e., analyst). Finally, our team listed primary responsibilities and key interactions for each role.

Building a user journey and prototyping

Building a user flow is a central stage of the enterprise UX designing process. Basically, designers should take the client’s requirements, connect them with user needs, and create wireframes. The important aspect here is to put a focus on simplicity, not creativity. There is usually much less space for experiments in enterprise UX projects than in consumer UX projects. The reason is that there is no goal to entertain or impress users, just to make their life easier.

To complete this stage of our fintech project, we created a schematic representation of a user flow. To do that, we used task analysis performed by our team after user research. Having all employees’ duties and connections laid out in front of our eyes, we created wireframes and then developed a high-fidelity prototype of the KYC platform.

millermedia7 product design

User feedback and iterations

When designers work on enterprise UX projects, some often skip this stage of a design process or collect feedback from the company’s executives instead of end-users. But it’s a huge mistake. Business managers usually have a bird’s eye view of the processes and operations. But they don’t know how everything looks from the inside. When it comes to product usability, the details matter a lot. That’s why gathering user feedback is critical. In most cases, designers have to perform several iterations of this step to create an enterprise user experience design that is highly tailored to the end-users’ needs.

To get a users’ perspective on the UX design that we were working on within the fintech project, our team conducted a number of user interviews. We asked interviewees to specify both positive and negative aspects that they noticed while performing tasks. We also jotted down our own observations of how a user interacts with a system. As a result, we created a truly user-centered enterprise UX design that helps the client’s employees be more efficient, and less frustrated, at work.

2021 is the time for user-centered enterprise UX design

For corporate software, a good enterprise UX design is as important as functionality, and quite frankly should be standard. Despite some popular misconceptions, it brings much greater value than just making employees like the product. If end-user needs are taken into account, their productivity is higher, which has a positive impact on the company’s profits. Besides, a quality enterprise UX design allows employees to work with complex data more effectively and collaborate with colleagues more easily. So, the investments in enterprise UX design always pay off in the end.

Need a thought-out enterprise UX design approach for your business system? Reach out!

User Experience and Digital Transformation : The Why, What, and How

User Experience and Digital Transformation: The Why, What, and How

By digital transformation, innovation, UX No Comments

The current health crisis forced many brick and mortar businesses to move online and completely rethink the way they operate. However, successfully undergoing a digital transformation isn’t always easy. While most traditional companies are striving to remain relevant in the new reality, only some of them understand how to do digital transformation right and what changes it triggers. One of the main mistakes organizations often make is to pay too much attention to technologies while underestimating the role of user experience.

In this article, we’ll explain why focusing on the UX design is crucial for receiving positive results from digital transformation. We’ll also give you some tips on how to get on the right track with creating outstanding digital experiences for current and potential customers.

Why center digital transformation around UX

No business can remain afloat if it ignores customer needs. But that’s exactly what some companies inadvertently do while undergoing digital transition. They think the same strategies that have proven their efficiency in real life will work equally well for online interactions. However, people behave differently in the digital space. This means that most traditional methods of offline communication aren’t necessarily effective on the internet.

Purchasing decisions online are influenced to a greater extent by a number of factors; including greater competition with plenty of available alternatives, the availability of reviews, almost effortless comparison of prices, and other conditions (e.g. delivery time and cost) have significantly raised the level of customer expectations. It usually takes just a few clicks to find another online shop selling similar products. So even one episode of poor customer experience can become a deal-breaker for internet purchasers.

A good UX design can address a number of these factors. It can help a company increase audience engagement, simplify interactions with every buyer, and, ultimately, get more sales. Statistics show that a return from every dollar invested in creating a decent user experience amounts to $100. At the same time, about 88% of online shoppers say that they won’t use a website again if the UX was bad. In other words, achieving business goals while undertaking a digital transformation isn’t possible without making the entire process user-centric.

How to get started with the UX-oriented digital transformation

Creating great products isn’t necessarily enough to combat fierce competition in the overcrowded internet arena. To stand out, a company must truly delight its customers, or at the very least make the purchasing journey effortless. In order to achieve this, a deep understanding of customer needs and wants is a must. Here are a few tips on how to take a comprehensive approach to the creation of user experience within the online transition process.

Do UX research

The main goal of UX research is to help you understand how to make every interaction with a mobile application or website pleasant to users. It allows a design team to identify problems and opportunities related to the usability of functions and solutions that you have already implemented or plan to implement. All insights and valuable information gathered at this stage can be fed into the further digital transformation process.

To do the research, UX professionals use:

  • qualitative measures (e.g. interviews) to figure out why customers do certain things, and
  • quantitative measures (e.g. analytics and statistics) to discover patterns and test the assumptions made after qualitative research.
UX research
Image source: Ferpection

Companies should apply UX research methods throughout the entire digital transformation process, not just at the beginning. During the later phases, they help to make sure that implemented software is easy to use and doesn’t create bottlenecks in the key processes and workflows.

Create wireframes

whiteboard

Rushing into the development process with no wireframes and prototypes isn’t a good idea. Even if you have to execute a digital transformation strategy within strict deadlines, it’s better to review the timeline than waste resources on building custom software that won’t bring you desired outcomes.

Wireframes will help you connect information architecture with a user interface. Building wireframes is the cheapest and fastest way to see if a solution has convenient navigation. Besides, wireframes will allow a design team to experiment with different ways of displaying content on screens. This will give you a chance to choose the perfect UX for your solution.

At this point, it’s important to create a holistic design system. Following the rules of such a system will make the visual representation of your brand consistent throughout different platforms.

Work on experience optimization

Digital transformation is a continuous process. Getting the IT infrastructure designed and developed won’t bring a company long-term benefits if opportunities for experience optimization are ignored later. As with any optimization process, moving to the digital space means that you always have to seek improvements and keep track of the current trends.

experience optimization
Image source: decibel.com

In this context, optimizing a digital customer experience should be a priority. Modern customers are demanding — they won’t tolerate brands that don’t show that they care for people. But digital transformation initiatives also cover the implementation of internal enterprise solutions. It means that you should provide the company’s staff with user-friendly tools as well. Such tools will help them do the work faster, increasing the company’s productivity and profitability.

Top post-COVID-19 trends in UX design

Covid-19 shopping

The coronavirus pandemic brought a lot of changes to our daily lives. Naturally, it also transformed customer service and things we expect from companies that sell us products and services online. To help you catch up with the current state of UX, here are the main post-COVID-19 trends to consider in a product development process.

Online videos

The coronavirus outbreak boosted the popularity of video content. Today, businesses use all kinds of videos to deliver their messages to customers, from live streams to online courses. In short, if you want the online transition to be successful, investing in quality video content will be the right decision. It will help you reach and engage a broader audience in a relatively short period of time.

Smooth virtual interactions

Yes, a smooth virtual interaction is something that people expected before quarantine as well. However, a stay-at-home regime moved even more of our daily tasks online. Now, people use the internet to solve literally every issue: purchasing groceries, work, talking to doctors via video call if some health concerns occur. That’s why simple and informative user flow and adjusting to the needs of users with different tech skills play a critical role in UX today.

Clarity in UX writing

The situation with COVID-19 made it hard to deal with information overload. Most of us are exposed to an enormous amount of news and thousands of messages all the time when we’re online.

It’s vital for companies that sell products or services to be clear and concise with their written content. No unnecessary distractions, ambiguity, and confusion — just plain expressions and straightforward guidelines.

The role of user experience in digital transformation

Digital transformation isn’t just about using more software tools and upgrading a company’s IT infrastructure. When an organization decides to implement technologies in its business operations, the way it engages with customers changes as well.

What this means is that if user experience doesn’t get enough attention, chances are the entire process will fail. To ensure that the digital transformation of your company will be successful, make it user-centric and take a holistic approach to building UX design.

Need a tenacious team for the digital transformation process?

Drop us a line!

Hottest IoT-based Solutions Transforming the World

By customer experience, design, IoT, omnichannel No Comments

With the emergence of smart home devices like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and more, everybody is going nuts about connectivity. Wearables such as smartwatches and fitness bands are no longer something rare or unique – a lot of us have and use them on a daily basis. This is also the case with remote-controlled home appliances that are connected to the internet, industrial assets and transportation systems. It’s no wonder that the IoT market size is expected to grow to $457.29 billion by 2020.

The concept of connected devices, more commonly called the Internet of Things (IoT), is not brand new – it was introduced in the early 80s. However, tech experts and ordinary people alike are still excited to see where this is all going.

As professional designers and developers, we also keep track of the current IoT trends. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the new IoT services and solutions which have the potential to become an integral part of our everyday lives in the near future.

Even more smart stores

It’s only been a year since Amazon opened its first no-checkout Amazon Go store to the public in Seattle. This automation solution has been made possible by the leaps in machine learning and IoT data processing. However, rumor has it that the company already plans its international expansion. As of today, the chain consists of nine smart stores located in the US but we can expect to have the first cashier-less store in the U.K in the nearest future. And, according to Bloomberg, Amazon will open about 3,000 other smart supermarkets by 2021.

Shopping in Amazon Go gif
Image source: giphy.com

The idea of doing shopping by just entering the store, grabbing the groceries and leaving without being checked out still sounds futuristic to a lot of people. Yet, Amazon is not the only company trying to take advantage of advanced shopping technology. Microsoft is already treading on its heels.

Recently, the company announced its partnership with Kroger, a large chain of US supermarkets. And many of the innovative solutions they created are based on IoT technology. Digital shelves, personalized ads and automatic alerts notifying store staff of low inventories are already redefining the way we think about supermarkets.

Reportedly, other retailers around the world will also have an opportunity to buy this solution. In other words, it’s just a matter of time before the smart store like Amazon Go will become an industry standard.

Smart fridges and the smart way of shopping for groceries

Smart grocery management is another category of IoT solutions which are going to take customer shopping experience to the next level. The main idea behind it is simple, yet genius. It is to make smart home products help us do grocery shopping in an easy and time-effective way.

The most famous smart device of this kind that already exists is Samsung Family Hub. Simply put, it’s a smart fridge that, among other things, can take photos of products stored in it. Users then can view such photos via their smartphones as they shop. On top of that, the fridge can mirror a TV, synchronize with calendars, share notes and messages. It can even help its owners control smart lighting, oven, front door video doorbells or security cameras etc. remotely.

Samsung Family Hub gif
Image source: Samsung.com

The smart home hub

Speaking about front door cameras, they’ll become smart too. At CES 2019, an IoT product called Door View Cam was announced by Ring company. The camera can be used as a regular glass peephole. But besides that, it can stream video to your smartphone and let you talk to anyone standing at your front door.

doors with Door View Cam
Image source: USA TODAY

As a side note, the smart home niche is expected to grow significantly in the near future (see the chart below). In short, the smart home niche can potentially become a gold mine for businesses that are ready to invest in IoT and new technologies. Among the many new products, you’ll find: the smart thermostat, smart speaker, smart plug, smart locks, and more.

Smart Home technology expected growth

Fairytales can come true with smart mirrors

Remember that episode from the fairytale about Snow White when she asks the magic mirror:  ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?’ ? Well, it no longer sounds like a fairytale because a ‘magic’ mirror can actually answer that question. A smart mirror by Capstone Connected Home was introduced at CES 2019 and it’s expected to be released later this year.

a girl in front of a smart mirror
Image source: Capstone Connected Home

At first glance, this smart mirror looks like a regular mirror and can be used as such. But that is far from all it can do. Besides working as a mirror, this gadget also has Google Assistant built-in, so it can practically do all the things the latter does. For instance, you can check the emails while brushing your teeth, access social media, stream YouTube videos or even play games.

Another cool thing about Capstone Smart Mirror is that you’ll still be able to see yourself through the content shown on the mirror ‘screen’, so it’s not just a huge tablet. We believe that the idea behind this device is very promising and that smart mirrors will make our mornings more pleasant and productive very soon.

IoT provides the future of healthcare

Unlike the previous two types of IoT solutions which aim to make our lives easier, the Internet of Healthcare Things (or IoHT) also helps people feel better and be healthier. It even has the potential to save lives.

The list of ways you can implement this technology in practice is virtually endless. For instance, there are solutions that gather information about the patient’s health and send a notification to a doctor if something is wrong. Other apps help monitor user’s medication schedules, activities and sleep cycles. Some IoT devices can also automatically identify any glitches in medical hardware so they can be fixed in a timely manner.

E-Alert by Philips is a great example of the latter type of IoHT solution. This tool measures key parameters of magnetic resonance imaging and alerts if something in the system doesn’t work properly.

e-Alert by Philips chart
Image source: philips.com.au

Moreover, there are also IoT devices that help doctors train without the risk of doing any harm to bodies or patients. For instance, Osso VR is a training gadget for surgeons that combines IoT and VR technologies and allows doctors to perform realistic operations in a risk-free virtual reality space. The product was released a few years ago but is still actively discussed on different professional platforms, such as this year’s CES conference.

a surgeon using OSSO VR
Image source: Osso VR

Although some smart medical devices already exist, we expect even more are in development already. And the IoT technology is versatile and flexible enough to satisfy the needs of any medical organization or hospital.

Pets will live better too

Human beings are not the only creatures who can benefit from the innovative solutions you can create with IoT. With the help of IoT technology, the life of our four-legged friends can be more pleasant and safer as well.

Different pet trackers that utilize GPS technology appeared a few years ago and have already won the hearts of animal owners. You can attach a small sensor to a pets’ collars or embed the sensor into them. This makes it possible to easily find the location of your cat or dog via a smartphone.

People often treat their cats, dogs, hamsters, parrots etc. as family members. That’s why they seek out pet care products that will make their pets happier. One of the most innovative solutions in this regard is a smart bed such as Petrics Smart Pet Bed introduced at CES 2018. Besides controlling the key health parameters (weight, sleep time etc.), it allows for the remote thermostatic control to maintain the temperature that is optimal for a specific breed.

Dog on Petrics Smart Pet Bed

Another popular IoT product that has the potential to become a must-have for any pet parent is a smart feeder. This type of device remotely controls food supply for cats and dogs (portion sizes, feeding schedule etc.). Some also have a camera, allowing the pet owner to check in on the pet remotely.

Cat eating from smart feeder
Image source: HomeCrux

It’s worth mentioning that quite a few smart feeders have already been created. Yet, the niche is ever-growing so there’s plenty of room for new pet-caring products with more advanced features.

Hyperconnected businesses and IoT manufacturing

One can hardly find a business that will not benefit from IoT-fueled solutions. No matter what your company produces and sells there are always processes that can be automated and done faster and more efficiently.

As of today, a lot of businesses, especially in the manufacturing industry, are successfully harnessing the power of IoT technology. For instance, at the Siemens plants in Germany, 75 percent of the production process is automated. The figure is quite significant, however, Siemens is planning on taking it further by creating a smart plant that is entirely automated.

And Siemens is not alone with its intentions. According to Juniper Research, the number of industrial IoT connections is going to grow to 46 billion in the next four years. This means that all businesses must consider investing in IoT solutions to stay competitive.

IoT is revolutionizing our personal and professional lives

Many IoT solutions may seem revolutionary or even unbelievable to us. However, we have to come to terms with the thought that most aspects of our lives will include IoT devices in the very near future. At the same time, the Internet of Things provides fantastic potential for innovation for businesses. So if you have a brilliant idea for an IoT-based product that will either allow people to handle their routine tasks more easily or help you optimize your business activity, it’s the perfect time to turn it into reality.

Looking for a development team for your next IoT project? Just contact us!