Introduction to Enterprise UX

September 5, 2018 | Read Time : 3 mins

Even though UX design has had a lot of boosts up over the past few years, it is still a common case when enterprise software suffers from a lack of attention to end-user satisfaction.

What is Enterprise UX?

Enterprise UX design is the UX design of enterprise products. Examples of enterprise products are HR management software, inventory tracking software, intranet sites and other system used in an enterprise. A definition of enterprise UX could be; The design of products for people at work. Enterprise UX is not limited to internal corporate systems. Instead, it is an umbrella that contains any software that helps users do their work.

Why does Enterprise UX matter?

Enterprise UX does not only mean thinking about your user’s needs while designing a product, it goes beyond that. It also includes changing the way tools and software of your company are looking at. It is seeing beyond the fact that employees will always try to adapt in order to do their job well. It should be recognized that these employees are the final users of the tools that the enterprise uses.

Enterprise UX design is probably one of the most important works that can be done. There are many reasons for this but here’s a few of them.

Voice of the labourer

UX designers have a unique responsibility to facilitate the relationship and interactions of humans with computers and other devices. As an enterprise UX designer, you allow everyday workers to have a voice in the way they get their work done.

Helping People on things that matter the most

Companies that invest in the user experience of their employees and acknowledge that their people are their most important asset are on a path to greater success. People perform better when they feel valued. And people feel valued when they feel heard. The job of an Enterprise UX designer is to listen to the employees and their needs regarding the tools they use and to make new tools or updates in the interest of the user

Affecting the culture of an organization

Enterprise UX designers have the unique opportunity to affect and influence the culture of a business from the inside. Enterprise UX designers can also improve communication between employees, managers, business partners and customers. Organizations that understand the benefits of great culture at work benefit from the rewards of a high-performance collaborative team.

Solving unique problems

It’s incredibly rewarding to work on enterprise software because you encounter new challenges that test your critical thinking skills. It takes someone who loves analysing problems and coming up with creative ideas to be a designer in the enterprise world.

Helping the Company make money

Besides all of the benefits of lower turnover, leading to lower training and on-boarding costs, the company increases efficiency by decreasing the time employees spend on tedious and time-consuming tasks.

Enterprise UX vs UX vs Consumer UX

User Experience (UX) is the process that design teams use to create products and services that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users. This involves the design of the entire process of acquiring and integrating the product, including aspects of branding, design, usability and function. Products and services that provide great user experiences are designed not only with their consumption or use in mind but also the entire process of acquiring, owning and troubleshooting it.

Enterprise applications are designed for a specific business domain rather than a specific task, as many consumer applications are. Most enterprise users have their applications chosen for them whereas consumers have freedom of choice and buy their own applications. While enterprise applications are often more much more complex than consumer applications, a UX designer should try to minimize the impact of this complexity on users.

Enterprise UX designers need to absorb a considerable amount of business knowledge – which might even be about the client’s strategy, organizational hierarchy, and corporate culture – in a short period of time.

Every Enterprise UX Designer must sooner or later come to terms with the fact that business goals come before user needs. The key is to arrange regular user testing sessions and make sure all stakeholders are aware of the findings and insights from these sessions.

Consumer UX is focused on impressing the user whereas Enterprise UX deals with helping users achieve their goals.

How and where can Enterprise UX make a difference?

One might not realize it, but enterprise UX is everywhere.

Healthcare Software

A lot of applications that are used to store customer information in the healthcare industry often fall short when it comes to providing a positive customer experience.

A medical software vendor application is installed for doing things such as entering prescription doses. Enterprise UX can bring about a big difference in the field of healthcare.

Factory Software

A lot of the work carried out in factories is done by humans which is why UX designers need to make a difference. A human-machine interface (HMI) was built so as to deal with physically dangerous conditions in a factory. It is a graphic user interface (GUI) that provides contextual information about the state of a process or machine. In this case, HMI was integrated in a way that does not limit the interactions between people and machines.

Small business software

Enterprise UX is also crucial to the growth of small business sectors like real estate. An observation made by an independent real estate agency observed that “Many lower-priced vendors have a very basic approach where it looks like a software developer designed the user interface. These interfaces are reminiscent of a 1990s Windows application designed in Visual Basic. The poor UX of these products directly contributes to potential clients looking elsewhere, which no independent agent can afford.”- Chris Olsen, owner of Olsen Ziealer Realty

Modern, consumer-facing real-estate portals have to take the time to do continuous research and consultation to improve the product experience and answer the goals of internal users.


Challenges faced by Enterprise

While designing for UX for Enterprise Software, there will be a number of challenges that designers might face. This is because enterprise software comes with its own set of requirements and techniques that are required for the growth of the enterprise.

The first step here is to understand what these problems are.

Getting stuck with a legacy system

A lot of enterprises are still using outdated systems and application software that act as a barrier while designing UX. Legacy system changes will be a resistance to change. Solving this can be achieved by getting a detailed insight into the existing user experience and understanding the problem areas. Through this, you can earn enough trust to change the entire system’s design.

Getting sufficient understanding of the end-user

Getting access to the end-user is another challenge faced by enterprise software. For Enterprise software, partnering up with the client for research might be a little tricky, since this software is created to increase productivity. Rather than trying to bring everyone into the loop all at the same time, conduct the meetings in small groups. It will be easier for company executives and designers to be on the same page about the design.

Providing little choice for users

Designing a good UX requires the designers to equip users with every kind of feature they need to perform an action. Giving users every type of feature leads to an interface with too many features, which makes it hard to maintain the product in the future. To fix this, ensure every feature added is approved by the required experts. Make sure to analyze user behaviour to see if they are using the features provided.

Users not wanting to take risks

In enterprise software, experimentation is limited. If the experimentation goes wrong, many people can lose their jobs, which will be an unwanted outcome. Clarifying the communication channel is the best way for introducing a slight amount of risk-taking in enterprise UX design.

Scaling for enterprise

Enterprise-scale products mean

  • Products are created within the walls of a multinational corporation in traditional industries such as banking or healthcare.
  • Products are bound to get adopted by 80K+ users on day 1 possibly for enterprise (B2B) clients.
  • Products are normally created in collaboration with in-house business partners or a product that can be sold/licensed/subscribed to/by other companies/enterprises.

Designing for scale for enterprise products can be done by following the below approach

  • Look out for customer pain points in measure and learn sessions or through customer interviews. Innovation could be a team member bringing some user insight back to the team or a project manager trying to transform the team.
  • Creating a product without understanding the target audience and the market is a misconception you don’t want to make when the stakes are so high. It is important to understand and identify the target market and user or the user job-to-be-done.
  • Contemplate the kind of solution you envision to get the job done for the user. This can take the shape of a high-level business case that will be key to your project in order to keep the product vision alive.
  • Identifying the work-streams required and aligning different stakeholders as their input in the project is crucial.
  • Identify owners or representatives for each work-stream. Having backup leads for each workstream is also important to avoid unexpected project calamities.
  • A good amount of pre-work is required before you can bring the outline of the entire project to a wider audience. This allows the leads to come up with some high-level outline of their individual expertise— be it user journeys/flows, technical architecture or data flow.
  • Have a kickoff session with the entire team to discuss visions, business objectives and user flow for the project to be communicated in the best way possible.

Empathy in Enterprise UX

While empathy is the ability to understand and feel emotions, it is not something that is easy. It means to put aside ideas, beliefs, and past experiences. It is about people, their hopes and their fears. Start by putting time and effort to interact with some of the living, breathing people.

“Real empathy is not naturally fostered in focus groups, it’s not uncovered in analytics. It does not start with personas or empathy maps. Real empathy starts with people.”

– Pete Smart, UX designer, Speaker, writer

In the enterprise realm, many factors further complicate the path to being empathetic. Often enterprise products have to serve various user roles who have their own vocabularies, tools and understanding methods.

You can bring empathy into your work as a designer through the following steps:

  • A design like you are a beginner user
  • Do research with empathy and listen well
  • Use photo and video user-based studies
  • Create personas
  • Engage with users and tell their stories to fellow designers\
  • Create empathy maps
  • Consider accessibility for users in all design work you do
  • Consider the context of use (where and when people use your product)

Enterprise Design for a global audience

Living in the digital information age feels like the height of globalization. Advances in communication technology positioned the internet as the freeway to information. Every single piece of information accessible through the internet is essentially available to anyone in the world.

Not having a global audience is practically inevitable. It’s not that it does not matter, but designing for a global audience is seemingly better than it sounds.

You can design for your global audience with the following approach:

Design because it is good for business

You have a stake in designing for a global audience. Essentially, scaling your business becomes common sense. With that comes a wider market, a much larger geographic scope that brings diverse clients.

Be inclusive

Publishing a website with culturally insensitive content can drive high traffic of the wrong kind. It may bring faster-than-lightning negative social media attention, which can easily lead to a situation that is impossible to salvage.

Global Design means relevance

The global design takes into consideration a wide array of audiences. By appealing through a universalized style, the user experience design also remains timeless.

For executing this:

Translation can’t be avoided

Though human translators are the most efficient form of translation, it is not practical to engage their services. Providing a translation of your website into your user’s local language is as easy as installing a Google Translate.

Level up with website localization

Website or product localization is the process of adjusting and adapting the content and design to be suitable for a specific audience. This is considered the next step from translation as it transforms your content so that it is not only understandable for your target audience but it is also culturally profound.

Cultural Sensitivity

Stick with neutral colour palettes. Bold, striking colours may have negative cultural references around the world. If you are featuring macro shots of objects, such as flowers or chopsticks, research meaning and placement.

Text sensitivity

Some languages are read from right to left or top to bottom. When designing wireframes with text and photo side-by-side, allow enough space so that there is no overlapping with the translation.

Image diversity and inclusion

If you are trying to scale your business internationally, include photos of models or imagery that reflect the diversity of the market you want to attract. Do not solely rely on stock photos as the lack of diversity remains an issue for providers.

Mentioned above was only an introduction to a few of the new and exciting directions for software design. Good UX can go beyond what you may think as a user interface because it also concerns how these programs interact with employees internally or externally through different channels like email notification options – to name just one thing we can do better at doing now.

For corporate software, a good enterprise UX design is as important and necessary to the success of your product. Not only does it ensure that you have satisfied customers who will recommend others in their companies use what they’ve found but also creates an engaging experience for those using it internally or externally–which can help increase employee morale!


OriginUX Studio


Team OriginUX

OriginUX Studio is a CoE for User Experience providing UI & UX across Product, Service and Customer Experience Design. We are a cross-disciplinary design team that loves to create great experiences and make meaningful connections for businesses and their users through UI & UX.

Founded in 2016, our larger purpose is to help brands understand what they want to do and where they want to go. To do that we have to make understanding customer experience simple, effortless, and affordable for everyone.

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