User Experience (UX) is a trending buzzword in the app development industry. In fact, there are over 5,000 books on the topic on Amazon alone, not to mention the millions of hits when searched on Google.All of these sources stress the importance of user-centric design to stay competitive and relevant in today’s evolving technology, emphasizing how an investment in UX provides significant ROI to your business. However, the majority of this information is often geared toward consumer websites and e-commerce mobile apps.As I attend conferences and read blog posts, I often struggle to interpret what I’m learning back to the world of enterprise apps, where the use cases are far different than those in the consumer world. The users are employees, and the apps are not for casual shopping, they are for accessing critical business data. When it comes to user experience, what exactly does that mean for the enterprise?
Defining UX for Enterprise Mobile Apps
First, let’s step back and define UX. We all know by now that UX is more than just screen usability such as colors and button locations that are only one part of the user experience. In enterprise mobility, UX is about the complete experience for the employee, from how they download the app for the first time, to how they get the support they need, to which applications they have available to them as they travel away from the office with limited connectivity.In Jamie Levy’s book, “UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products That People Want,” she talks about a fundamental component of UX: Customer Discovery. Talk, better yet, listen to the end user regarding his or her needs before development even begins. Executing a well-designed mobile app is great, but only if it is used by the intended audience.The good news is the enterprise shouldn’t have to go far to find their users. They could be in the next building or even as close as down the hall. When IT takes the time to talk to a handful of users across all departments, they can gather a better understanding of their needs and validate their pain points. By doing this before design or development of your enterprise app even begins, your organization can avoid unnecessary delays and spending down the road.
Simplifying the Mobile User Experience
In “Creating Habit Forming Products,” Nir Eyal talks about users being driven by triggers, either external or internal. In the enterprise, one trigger is the employee’s needs to complete a task to do their job. If that task can be made easier through a new mobile app, it is more likely to be widely used.For example, one of our customers was able to transform a complex legacy application they had had in place for over a decade into a simplified mobile app using our SmartUX Platform. To begin the process of integrating their ERP system into a modern mobile app, their in-house IT team worked with their business users to break down necessary data into simple workflows that were easy to follow. Following the initial testing phase, business users noted that they had even begun using the mobile app while at their desk because it was so simple and fluid!In short, enterprises should consider user experience as a critical aspect of their mobile strategy. The first step to driving a successful mobile transformation is to listen to and collaborate with your end users. The way we see it at PowWow Mobile, the best apps are the ones that get used frequently and make the employee’s job much more simple.
NOTE: This was originally written and posted on PowWow Mobile website while I was their Head of UX.