What if you get the opportunity to design a product which will willingly, wholeheartedly be used by thousands of users, no questions asked?
And as with all good things, there’s a catch here as well. These willing, wholehearted users are actually employees who have no choice but to use that very product designed by you. Thus with eUX, the challenge is not so much as gathering an audience; it’s more about impressing them even when impressing them isn’t really what you’re asked to do.
Working with enterprise clients can be quite the contradiction. Designers face umpteen problems in this regard, from long-winding meetings to bureaucratic hurdles. However, it also presents opportunities to resolve some unique challenges and create impactful solutions to those who need it the most.
People using the Enterprise products are different. They are the ones who are the part of an enterprise thus, their needs are different from the users of customer-facing products. The goals of different users using a B2C product are the same thus meeting those needs are not that complex. Whereas in the case of designing an enterprise product the complexity increases because people from different departments and of different levels have different needs. There are more challenges and restrictions in an enterprise product as compared to the customer-facing products.
UX isn’t UI: For starters, UX isn’t about fancyfying the look-and-feel of a product. Most misgivings about the final impact of UX stems from this very notion. The problems that UX undertakes to solve are peripheral ones. Now, these problems might not be as compelling or visible as the organizational goals they support, but they’re just as necessary to solve.
How to deal with this: Get down to explaining the massive spectrum that is eUX! Enterprise UX is on the perpetual lookout for opportunities to improvise and upscale. At Koru, we believe that dreary application is waiting to be transformed into a delightful, rewarding, and user-friendly experience, thereby providing solutions to hitherto unknown roadblocks.
We follow these broad stages to conduct the UX design process –
- Researching: For the design agency, this first stage involves understanding the scope of what is to be achieved, including the determination of the terms of the project such as timelines and budget.
- Ideating and Testing: This stage covers the creation of possible solutions that will meet business needs and user needs, zeroing in on the ones which would be viable on all grounds.
- Launching and Measuring: This stage sees the project transitioning into launch mode. The design team here is heavily involved during the implementation phase to ensure that the user requirements are being carried through to the final product.
Misunderstanding the UX: Initially, there is often a misunderstanding from the end of stakeholders. They may think that they are already aware of their user’s need. All they can focus is on the look and feel of the design. It is true that a good eUX design will help the enterprise to achieve its business goals and increase the return on investment but UX design is far more than making the software look good.
How to deal with this: Considering the good design while designing the EUX product the designers should also elucidate on the users needs. Designing an enterprise product by keeping in mind the users needs and goals will definitely be a huge success.
Collaboration: A hurdle in the path of building a good product: Working with large systems, we’ve discovered right in the researching phase that there’s no single person who holds the answers to our queries. The actual users are scattered here, whereas the requirements would be spread out elsewhere.
Behind building of a good eUX product are the different teams like the designers, developers, testers etc. The communication gap between these teams may lead to a bad design, mistrusts and ‘finger pointing’. The long tradition of organizational silos can lead to the death of collaborative teams. By creating the collaboration amongst these teams you put everybody on the same page having the same level of information.
This gap may also arise at inter-organization level. When you are working on a large scale project no one will know the answers to all the questions. Neither will you find the requirements in one place, nor the users in one place.
How to deal with this: Try building the trust with your stakeholders and dig the required information out of them slowly and gradually. Here’s what you can do –
Take second opinions: UX team and developers often see things very differently as well, as a result of their own skills, talents, and strengths. Reviews can outline some very important insights and hence it is advisable to include all major stakeholders to be a part of the process at the end of each UX sprint.
Integrate design thinking into your organization: An institutional focus on experience design and design thinking will create friendlier and trustworthy technology. The decisions made by using these principles would result in products and services that are relatable and emotionally resonant and a workplace where employees are empowered contributors. It would be perceptive of changing business dynamics and be swiftly adaptable. This empathetic approach would drive forward a human-centric line of functioning to any business.
Rigidity in a working pattern: Most of the times it may happen that the enterprise clients will follow their own project management skills without giving a thought to healthy UX design. The traditional methods (the waterfall method) which is doomed may be used to handle the project all way long. One cannot change the methodology, which is being practiced for years in a day or two. This process will take time and integration of UX into the company’s own methods of developing sprints is a big challenge. Validation of product at the later stage will cause a problem. The long release cycles will make you vulnerable to develop a software which solves the purpose of your users.
How to deal with this: The doomed process that has possibly been in place for decades cannot be changed overnight, the customized variations can make a gradual change. You can do so by introducing leaner development cycles and by showing the value of your new approach. Keep showing your product, your work to users even if it might take a long time before the users can put their hands off on the final product.
Short deadlines: At the initial phase of the project the UX designers and developers have their primary focus to deliver the best output possible. As a result, things get hustled. Under the pressure of short deadlines, the chances of missing a business requirement are very high. If not the requirement then the design is sacrificed to meet the deadlines. This may erode the trust between the management and the technical team.
How to deal with this: The initial step should be identifying the key pain points of the product. Create a proper plan to tackle these incrementally. Sometimes UX can be improved with a minimum amount of change. Information Architecture is a good approach for designers to navigate through the current product. For identifying the pain points you can have a look on these ten points by Nielsen ‘Ten Usability Heuristics for UI design’.
Feeling of Failure: Lean UX, when applied inside big companies the feeling of failure, may be haunting. Sometimes change is good and sometimes it is scary.
How to deal with this: Conduct meetings and explain how lean UX encourages fast and small failures with minimal risks. Explain the ways to avoid really critical errors. Try and ask everyone the possible causes that may turn the project into a failure and try to overcome them.
Understand your users: The buyers of your product is not an end user. The buyers of your product are the C-level decision makers and other senior personnel whereas the users of your product are people working for an enterprise. The users may use and may not use the product (depending on the ease) but the product is bought and implemented on their behalf.
How to deal with this: Try some ideas and validate them from users of your product. If they find your product easy to handle and to play with then definitely the product is going to hit the market.
Kshitij is a VP of Experience Design at Koru. He is a passionate, self-organized individual who loves to practice lean UX for enterprise products. When he is not solving UX problems at home, he can be found soul-searching in the hills and gather great coffee blends to keep him supercharged.