Enterprise UX is a complex beast. Targeting users in large organizations can be difficult, but there are ways to make it easier.
What is enterprise UX?
UX, or user experience, refers to all the ways the end-user of a product experiences and interacts with it. At its core, UX is about understanding the needs and meeting the expectations of the users of a product, making their interaction with it as seamless as possible. Good UX design may not always be obvious, but bad UX design often is.
Enterprise UX, then, is UX that aims to help people with work. Internal corporate systems often have a reputation for looking outdated, cluttered, or hard to navigate, especially when compared to the shiny new platforms that customers see. But increasingly, companies are seeing the value of modernizing their enterprise software UX to help increase productivity, reduce mistakes, and overall improve the employee experience with the company.
The enterprise user experience is evolving
Many organizations have faced the challenge of replacing their enterprise software with something better, more efficient, and more effective at driving business results.
For large enterprises, the task of getting the new system up and running is a complex one. Moreover, the migration and redevelopment process requires resources, time, and money.
So, why invest?
Take into consideration that the enterprise UX evolution is happening in two ways. The first is the advent of cloud computing and the virtualization of data centers. The second is mobility's role in shaping how end-users experience applications and systems. After all, most people working in IT departments today feel pressure to accommodate a growing workforce that works primarily on their smartphones and tablets.
With the above in mind, it's clear that investing in good enterprise user experiences will promote better business processes.
The unique challenges of enterprise UX
Designing the User Experience for enterprise software is not as straightforward as it seems.
And let me tell you why…
The almighty legacy system
Enterprises around the world have systems that have survived for ages. Users have noted that these legacy systems are old and inefficient. But because of their age, the companies have kept these legacy systems rather than spending time and money on updating them.
When we design UX for enterprise products, we have to start with the legacy system.
Most enterprises still use outdated systems and application programs - a barrier when designing a proper UX. These are challenges that we look to tackle.
We understand that legacy systems are old and designed before UX design was considered necessary. With this in mind, we strive to find creative ways to work around it.
Insufficient access to the end user
Designing user experience for commercial software is never easy: you're trying to create something that will appeal to (and fulfill the requirements of) many users with whom you have no physical contact.
However, for enterprise software, the situation is different. Although this kind of software is not created to generate revenue, it does help increase employee productivity. Because of the company's stringent view on how to increase productivity, they may clash with your design policies and end-user requirements.
We found that the best way to tackle this challenge and ensure user satisfaction is to complete the design in small increments. This way provides the opportunity to receive suggestions and feedback. The design is then easier to iterate, ensuring everyone is content with the changes.
Enterprises, especially in the software industry, tend to shy away from taking risks.
Stakeholders plan out every decision carefully and can take a long time before putting anything into action.
No one wants a mistake to cost everyone their jobs and bring a company down. The desire to minimize risk is a natural human tendency, one that is inherent in every single one of us. But we often forget (or choose not to be conscious of) the fact that designing a great user experience requires risk-taking.
Our clients or stakeholders often ask us to design something they "can count on". The implication here is clear: The more predictable the user experience, the safer it would be.
Striving for consistency and predictability may seem like a good idea, but it's not because predictability creates stagnation. There's a reason why you can rely on consistent items such as chairs and tables: they got there through rigorous trials and errors.
A proper understanding of end-user behavior allows you to predict their needs with a certain confidence level, but it will never attain a 100% success rate in design.
Enterprise UX methodologies and tools
Enterprise UX researchers use various methods and tools to help them understand the end users and how they interact with the products. These two elements are vital to creating a useful and usable product.
Common user experience research methods are usability testing, user interviews, surveys, card sorting, tree testing, field studies, and more. To choose a suitable UX research method for your project, we first need to understand the problem and what data we need to collect to solve the problem.
We use various UX tools throughout the product development process to help research, create, or test digital or physical representations of the product.
They can include wireframing apps like Sketch and Adobe XD; prototyping tools like InVision; design pattern libraries like Material Design Lite; visual design apps like Photoshop; user feedback tools like Hotjar; analytics platforms such as Google Analytics; and more.
A systematic approach to designing enterprise products
The enterprise software market presents a unique challenge.
There are corporate road maps and brand guidelines. There are also data-constrained or unique user use cases. Moreover, in most cases, the users are not your regular customers but decision-makers who might be new to using a particular product or feature and need to learn how to use it.
For these reasons, designing UX for enterprise software is a unique challenge that we can meet with a systematic approach.
Rare Crew goes a step further than others by simplifying the process and harnessing the power of experiences. We take something you already have in place, and make it better, faster, and more manageable.
That's what company leaders have been asking for from software solutions for years, and that's precisely what Rare Crew delivers today.