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
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