In many respects, we have reduced the ambiguity in our world. We can now sample an entire music album before deciding to purchase it, use a smartphone app to learn what’s happening at home while we’re on vacation, or click a button to discover who has viewed our LinkedIn profile. However, while we might enjoy the occasional mystery/thriller novel or movie, in which the story’s outcome remains uncertain as we’re propelled through suspenseful twists and turns, we are becoming much less tolerant of mystery in our daily lives. We like to disambiguate the circumstances of our lives. We like to know things. This gives us comfort and favors predictability, which in turn reduces our anxiety and stress. Resolving uncertainty is actually something for which people are willing to pay.
But ambiguity is still alive and well in the work we do as UX designers. Those of us who design enterprise software should be very familiar with ambiguity. We encounter it often, whether in vague feature requirements, unfamiliar capabilities that derive from the acquisition of a new product or company, or the complex workflows that are characteristic of the highly specialized domains in which we work. Read More
What do you think of when you hear the term enterprise UX? Designing corporate Human Resources (HR) systems or intranets? Many articles and books for UX professionals focus on designing Web sites and mobile applications for consumers. But what about the silent majority of users in the workplace who are trying to get their job done? Many of them think of enterprise software as the generally sub-par tools that companies force them to use.
However, over the past few years, enterprise UX has started to get more attention from user-experience thought leaders. (There’s even a conference dedicated to it.) But what does enterprise UX actually mean? From what we’ve observed, it seems that there is not yet an agreed-upon definition of this term. This fuels confusion about enterprise UX, why it matters, and what scope it encompasses. Therefore, in our first column on this topic, we’ll
provide a working definition of enterprise UX
describe a few of the many environments in which enterprise UX makes a difference
identify obstacles to designing and developing great enterprise software Read More
Working with multiple product teams can be a rewarding experience for UX designers. You gain exposure to diverse groups of people, work in different parts of the business, and design a variety of products—large and small. This often leads to growth opportunities within your discipline and enhances your reputation within the company for which you work.
However, working with multiple product teams can also be fraught with unique sets of challenges. For instance, most product-team members working in other roles focus on just one project at a time—especially in large enterprise environments—so they have clearly defined priorities and boundaries. One project—whether large or small—is their top priority, so the product teams with which you work might assume that their project should be your top priority, too. Aggravating this challenge is the fact that UX designers are typically underrepresented in large enterprise environments, in comparison to engineers, quality engineers, and architects.
As I’ve experienced firsthand, being the lone UX designer supporting multiple projects of different sizes, scopes, and types greatly magnifies this issue. One project might be designing a mobile application, another installable software for a thick-client application, and yet another a Web application. Designing for each of these platforms requires specific knowledge and poses unique challenges. Read More