Enterprise software faces a number of UX challenges, including the following:
Enterprise solutions often depend on integrations between multiple applications.
Few of these applications were built with the intent of integrating them into a system that supports a cohesive user experience.
There is a profound lack of information on UX-research approaches that are suitable for exploring integration issues for enterprise software.
This article is Part 1 of a series in which I’ll examine several critical software-integration considerations from a UX perspective. In Part 1, I’ll focus on how to characterize users’ mental models of the data that underlie enterprise systems. In cases where an enterprise is integrating two or more applications that have disparate, back-end data sources, UX research should guide efforts to align those data sources to achieve a seamless user experience. This article outlines specific approaches for characterizing both the current and ideal workflows for viewing, adding, or modifying data across multiple applications. It also identifies success criteria for use when evaluating integrated user experiences. Read More
The integration of enterprise applications is a complex, long-term process that requires careful consideration of business goals, user input, and technical constraints. Enterprises often apply the word integration broadly to describe different types of integration scenarios. In some cases, integration refers to connecting separate applications in ways that enable those applications to function together more seamlessly, while maintaining their independence. In other cases, integration refers to connecting separate applications with the ultimate goal of consolidating them into a single cohesive platform.
Deep linking between applications provides continuity for users throughout the execution of their work tasks. In instances where the ultimate goal is to consolidate applications, deep links provide an intermediate path to integration. This article outlines some techniques for exploring deep-link candidates with your users and characterizing the ways in which those deep links should operate. It also describes several deep-linking patterns for which users commonly perceive a need. Read More
An intranet has the potential to unify a corporate culture, emphasize core company values, and develop a sense of community among employees, in addition to its basic function of providing access to documents and procedural information. Unfortunately, some intranets have simply grown organically, as collections of disjointed Web sites for different departments or document repositories for particular workgroups.
The key to intranet success is to provide value to employees and give them a reason to visit the site repeatedly. One of the primary ways to achieve this is to connect employees with the people and groups with whom they need to collaborate. Workgroups, or communities of practice, provide the basis for a living, growing, vibrant space in which people can access the information they need, share best practices, and contribute to a shared knowledge base. This article discusses the role of communities of practice within organizations and provides a framework for planning research and design activities to maximize their effectiveness. Read More