With the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement and consumer software upending the traditional enterprise environment, it's no surprise the enterprise user experience is becoming a hot topic for companies looking for increased productivity and a competitive advantage in their respective industries. But the user expectations generated by consumer software, the myriad of devices, and the intricacies of enterprise requirements, create a complex UX problem set that's not so easy to crack. In this episode of The Digital Life, we explore some of the issues that enterprise UX bring to the fore, consider the future landscape as software "eats the world", and discuss the skills that UX designers will need to tackle these challenges.
Here are a few quotes from this week's discussion.
Jon on the need for UX design for the intermediate user in enterprise:
I think that’s an interesting theme that we’re banging on again and again, which is the idea of this mismatch between the really complex workflows and tasks, and then this idealistic sort of, “Hey. I just want to be able to immediately and intuitively know what this software does, and just be able to touch it and go without first spending a little time to adapt to this tool and to learn about it, and to go my way up the learning curve.”
I think there is definitely going to be a need for some push back to say that with complex software, even if it is a little bit more consumer-friendly on the enterprise side, with complex software, there is always going to be a learning curve, right? There is always going to be a need for the person who understands it and spends a lot of time with it, and learns how to use it in a professional setting, and that is not going to go away. I think that’s the flip side of the design coin there. We want more consumer-friendliness in our enterprise software, but there is always going to be a need for designing for the intermediate user, rather than the simple used case first time one-and-done user, which is very different.
Dirk on the challenge of designing software for the enterprise:
The challenge for designers and other UX professionals is that, if you have been successful in designing in a consumer context or for something that’s less complex, like designing successfully in the enterprise, it’s almost like a whole different skill set. It’s almost like a whole different art because of the mammoth nature of again, the use cases and the complexity. You can’t go about the things that you’re doing the same way. You can’t look at the scale and type a nature of research the same way, the way that you architect the product and the interaction models that you consider and employ need to be thought of completely differently. So it’s a new frontier.