From improving productivity, efficiency, and overall output, technology plays an important role for enterprise-level companies This realization has led to the launch of their own web or mobile apps for internal or external B2B applications.
And while the development of these apps crucially relies on technology, no factor is more important than the user experience of its design. After all, you can have a great backend system, but if it’s not user-friendly you cannot expect anyone to adopt it.
This type of design can potentially change the game for enterprises: it can improve operational efficiency, streamline essential processes, improve users’ experiences, and allow the company to become more productive and profitable.
In this article we’ll take a closer look at the role of UX design in enterprise-level app development, how it differs from the direct-to-consumer market, and what needs to be done to develop a successful application.
User experience (UX) plays a key role in the success of any app, and enterprise apps are not an exception to this rule. A carefully designed user interface changes how users perceive and interact with an app, and can simplify the way employees complete it. Employing user experience will give companies higher adoption rates and improved productivity while reducing costs.
But how is all of this achieved through one app? The answer comes down to fundamental usability.
Any application looking for widespread adoption needs to be both intuitive and easy to use from the get-go. End users should already feel familiar with the application’s design since it should follow the same design principles of well-designed services they already use every day. This is achieved through consistency in design interactions, using standard app behavior, and studying the user’s actions.
For internal apps, it’s important to note enterprises typically have existing systems and frameworks that need to be taken into account when introducing new UX designs. In these cases, the application should integrate into the existing systems already in place at the enterprise business.
Creating an intuitive and user-friendly enterprise application demands a fundamental shift from traditional, top-down design methodologies to user-centered design (UCD) approaches. The UCD approach pivots around a detailed understanding of the user's needs, preferences, behavior, and pain points. In order to create an app design that genuinely empathizes with users, businesses need to engage in comprehensive user research during the design process.
In-depth user research forms the cornerstone of this process. By conducting user interviews, surveys, or ethnographic studies, businesses can garner invaluable insights into users' needs, aspirations, challenges, and usage patterns. This can help businesses understand users' tasks, how they think about those tasks, their mental models, and their expectations from the software. It's important to have a diverse sample in this research phase, representing different roles, experiences, and abilities within the target user base
Engaging users in the design process is a strong way to ensure that the resulting app is well-suited to their needs. Achieving partnerships with users can be achieved by involving them in brainstorming sessions, user journey mapping, usability testing, and other co-design activities. For instance, during usability testing, users can be asked to complete specific tasks with the application, and their feedback can provide crucial insights into any barriers they experience or improvements they would suggest. This type of feedback can be invaluable to the agency and the enterprise.
Feedback collection should be an ongoing activity throughout the app development process. Iterative prototyping allows for continuous user feedback, enabling the team to validate their ideas and design decisions before committing to final implementations. This iterative testing and refinement of the application leads to the creation of a more refined product that effectively meets users' needs.
Part of the user research process will be to evaluate the existing business processes and workflows. This is because app developers and designers can then use their newly gained understanding of the organization’s operations in order to create applications that take away the need for employees to switch between multiple tools or systems, providing a centralized platform for efficient work.
A User Story is a casual, easy-to-understand description of a feature or set of features that your organization wants in the product. Serving as an invaluable tool in Agile software development, a User Story encapsulates a software feature from the perspective of an end-user. This includes identifying the type of user, what they want, and their rationale.
At NineTwoThree, we leverage these stories to create a 'to-do' list or set of development tasks, guiding us through the project journey and helping us ensure that the end-user experience aligns with expectations.
We record and track User Stories on the Client's User Story Board, which comprises three stages:
Epic Description: This is a concise statement of the requirement or need.
Updates/Notes: These capture the dialogue between the Client and the Agency on each User Story.
Status: This tracks the progress of translating the User Story into a tangible feature in the Client's product.
When it comes to the aspect of integrating business processes and workflows into app design, we commence with thorough user research. This enables us to scrutinize the existing business processes and workflows. This knowledge equips our app developers and designers with a deep understanding of your organization's operations, allowing them to craft applications that remove the need for employees to toggle between multiple tools or systems and offer a unified platform for efficient work.
Ultimately, our goal is to create an app that simplifies complex tasks and optimizes them, all bundled within a single, streamlined solution. A well-conceived app, as we envision, is not just a tool but an enabler, enhancing work efficiency and productivity.
Enterprise applications need a comprehensive administrative backend. This includes user provisioning, permission assignments, and maintaining a traceable audit trail. Every user action must be logged to ensure transparency and accountability.
It's vital in the enterprise setting to maintain a data-driven decision-making process. Unlike startups where everyone is actively engaged from inception, enterprises involve numerous stakeholders. This demands easy access to performance metrics. For example, stakeholders may want monthly reports detailing growth or decline. By analyzing where users spend most of their time, or which app features attract attention, businesses can gain insights. Such in-depth analytics are paramount in enterprise applications and B2C applications, albeit on a smaller scale.
Enterprises also take a systematic approach. Proposals and results are typically backed by hard data. In a B2B setting, it's crucial to monitor account growth. If, for instance, a company has 100 customers paying $1 million per year, the customer success team needs to comprehend user behavior metrics and the expansion trajectory of accounts. It's essential to discern which accounts are growing, which are contracting, and the source of growth. This exercise is helpful in identifying areas needing nurturing to prevent customer churn.
Support teams in enterprises need tools like "impersonation" to experience the app from the user's perspective. This ensures immediate and tailored assistance. Compliance is paramount for enterprise apps. Vendors must possess a track record of functioning in high-compliance settings, where there's zero tolerance for cutting corners. Companies of the Fortune 500 caliber are prime targets for cyber threats, necessitating continuous monitoring. Additionally, comprehensive documentation is indispensable in enterprises to ensure continuity, especially when personnel change.
Enterprises often employ a unique suite of internal tools. Integration with existing cloud providers, monitoring systems, CRMs, and analytics tools is non-negotiable. Stakeholders expect a consolidated login system for an overarching view of operations.
The lifecycle of enterprise software is exceptionally extended. While a startup may struggle to survive the first three years, enterprise applications are designed for decades of utility. Therefore, their vendor selection process is rigorous. They assess vendors' stability, talent retention, and long-term planning. Preference is usually given to native applications because giants like Apple, Google, and Android provide long-term support, understanding the enterprise's reliance on their platforms.
Lastly, scalability is critical for enterprises. When launching a new feature or platform, they might be catering to hundreds of thousands from the onset. Vendors must be prepared for rapid growth, possibly accommodating millions within a year. This scenario involves catering to a vast user base and integrating with legacy systems.
NineTwoThree Studio is a leading app design studio specializing in enterprise solutions. With a proven track record of delivering exceptional designs and seamless user experiences, NineTwoThree Studio understands the unique needs of enterprises. Our team of skilled designers and developers leverage the latest industry trends and technologies to create innovative, user-centered app designs that drive business success.
By collaborating with NineTwoThree Studio, enterprises gain access to cutting-edge expertise, streamlined design processes, and a partner committed to their success in the digital realm.