Today, User Experience (UX) penetrates all industries. Markus Kugler, Managing Director at coeno, identifies three reasons for large companies to deal with UX now. coeno has just been assigned to do the UI redesign of the sophisticated online campaign tool AdCampaign by the Swiss company Publicitas. The goal: satisfied users who enjoy the application. According to Markus Kugler, this should also be the rule for business applications.
Three reasons why large companies should deal with User Experience
1. Employees are users too
Enterprise Software – ob nun Finanz- und Personalplanungs-Tools, eine Buchungsanwendung wie bei Publicitas oder andere essentielle, unternehmensinterne Werkzeuge – konfrontieren Mitarbeiter oft mit einer ausgeklügelten Darstellung riesiger Datenmengen, die mit Hilfe des jeweiligen Tools beherrscht werden soll. An den Mitarbeiter als Anwender wird dabei noch zu selten gedacht – folglich ist die User Experience eher mau. Diese Nutzer gehen in allen anderen Lebensbereichen mit Software um, die benutzerfreundlich und attraktiv gestaltet ist und sich entsprechend einfach bedienen lässt. Die Akzeptanz der Mitarbeiter für schlecht bedienbare Anwendungen in Unternehmen sinkt. Und wenn diese schlecht bedienbar sind, kommt ihre Nutzung den Unternehmen teuer: Mitarbeiter brauchen länger, um ihre Aufgaben zu erledigen.
Enterprise software – no matter whether it is financial or HR planning tools, a campaign and booking application similar to the one used by Publicitas, or another essential internal-company tool – often confront employees with elaborate depictions of large quantities of data, that need to be manipulated with the help of the respective tool. The employee is very rarely considered as a user – consequently the user experience is rather poor. These same users deal with software in all other areas of their life that is designed to be user friendly and attractive and so they are easy to use. This decreases the acceptance by employees of difficult to use applications within the company. And difficult to use applications are expensive for the company: because employees need more time to complete their tasks.
2. Simplify working life
Even small modifications to procedures ensure that tasks are completed faster and more comfortably. If real users are directly included in the modification process of the UX, proven company tools can be improved in a lasting way. The collection of user requirements at the beginning, or continuously using prototype-based tests, helps with this. “Anyone who is intimidated by large internal tools should start with a web application”, Markus Kugler recommends. These are easier to adapt – the successes are worth looking at and help to convince others in the company to slowly start with the heavy lifting.
3. To clearly validate the ROI of an improved UX
Markus Kugler: “Anyone who wants to go a step further, should not only optimize the UX of an application, but also, immediately try to implement UX-based thinking within the modification process: continuous learning, building and measuring.” This means that the users are involved from the beginning with the conceptualization process (learning), creation of the application (building) and iterative testing – including KPIs – with the users (measuring).
These measurable improvements ensure both transparency and progress: define KPIs in advance and then check if, and to what extent, they can be fulfilled and improved during development and prototype-based testing. An example of a KPI: the required time for completion of a task. Even after the Roll-out of the optimized software, KPIs should be used in order to feed the continuous optimization process with data. This way the ROI of an optimized UX is clearly measurable and provable.
Weitere Munition für den Einzug von UX in großen Unternehmen
The WIRED magazine detects a paradigm change and names reasons: the era of long-term projects and IT infrastructure roll-outs is coming to an end. The future belongs to feedback-based development because large companies need ease of use for internal tools and applications in order to stay competitive. The Harvard Business Review even calls UX the “new black in business cultures“: Leading managers from all industries to promote UX as key to their product strategy.
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