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
Picture this: You’re in a windowless room, bathed in sterile, fluorescent lighting. A rattling HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling) system is pumping in recycled air from above. You’re sitting in front of multiple, large-monitor displays—which may not be positioned ergonomically—studying complex, graphic visualizations for any problems that may reveal themselves. These could be simple nuisances or present potential dangers to human lives. You’re working a long shift today—twelve hours to be exact. While you may get the occasional break, you’re otherwise rooted to your chair. You must try not to miss anything important.
This scenario isn’t fiction. It’s a reality for many employees who work in operational control rooms. While automation and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) have, in many ways, eased the burdens of humans who monitor complex operations, offloading much of the work to artificial intelligence, humans are still a critical part of the process. And, as we all know, humans are not infallible. We grow tired. We begin to daydream. We become distracted. 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