UX CONSISTENCY: A Universal Challenge For Enterprise Products
Over the past ten years, my team and I have come across unique and compelling challenges while working on multiple enterprise applications. The one commonality that was present across these projects was that each called for specific and custom-curated approaches which would strike the sweet spot between business and users needs.
Enterprise User Experience or eUX which offers fertile grounds to engage and resolve problems through UX methods and strategies that rely on scientific outcomes.
These applications reflect specific characteristics that tell just how different they are from B2C applications.
Complex functional design: Every design decision made to satisfy a requirement further affects many other requirements, sometimes in ways which are difficult to predict. Large intervened workflows are salient to the domain.
Designing for the employee mindset: The user of an Enterprise product has a different mindset. It is very important to understand what the user needs are not only out of the product but out of their career and growth. Optimizing the experience for users reflects in the form of higher productivity and satisfaction.
Constantly scaling: Enterprise applications constantly evolve to deliver better value as per the needs of the business in sync with advancements in technology. It involves careful designing of both, the usability of the product and the ease which the users will derive from using it. It is the integration of the product’s design, usability, and function.
Consistency refers to logical coherence and accordance when it comes to Enterprise UX, and to maintain the same is a big challenge. The product development team faces many hurdles in the field of Enterprise UX like an overwhelming amount of feature requirements, technical constraints, dependency on the expert domain’s point of view, etc. To minimize these hurdles, the best possible way to approach Enterprise UX is to carefully observe the users of Enterprise level app and have enough information regarding:
- Identifying the users of the app
- Knowing about their expectations from your product
- Jotting down their problems and how your application will solve them
- Observing the way they handle the solutions you provided
A recently conducted survey with enterprise designers revealed that maintaining UX consistency is the biggest hurdle in designing an enterprise product. The design should enable the B2B products to run for a longer period of time, amongst distributed teams.
The communication gap between teams may end up having inconsistencies in a product. There are chances that the other team may introduce different components, design patterns, etc. As the product starts to scale up these inconsistencies may have a tendency to multiply many times as the size of the product increases.
A design system is an assembly of reusable components, used to build numerous applications. It usually comprises –
- Guidelines (design principles, code conventions, and editorial guidelines)
- Visual assets (Color palettes, typographic scales, icons, etc.)
- UI patterns (forms, button styles, page patterns)
- Pointers towards usage and maintenance
Several companies have created their own Design Systems for long-term gains in terms of consistency and scalability. The enterprise teams either have a design system or are in the process of building one. Besides, it is a positive sign it can be noticed that a design system is never 100% done. Design systems are built for a long run, meant to evolve with time.
Where should you be consistent?
The areas where the consistency is needed are:
Elements like tables, wizards, filters, etc. should be kept at the same place. The user will get used to the location of these elements so they should be kept at the same place. The product designed should be logical to the users and this will happen if the elements are kept at the right and the same place.
The Design should also be consistent if there is consistency in workflows. Workflow management is essentially creating standards that lead to consistent work processes that make work safer, of higher quality, and more efficient. Standardization (often done through online forms) offers consistency and simplification, and when you add automation to that, you have the elements of a high-quality, high-efficiency workflow.
The Interaction with the product should be consistent too. Each user will choose to interact with the product in a different way, but the way your product responds to the interaction should be the same for each and every user. A major challenge faced today in UX consistency is to maintain the same.
For that, the team should –
- Know the best way to initiate a workflow
- Plan for repeatability
- Merge or integrate the workflows with scheduling tools
- Run tests before deployment
- Monitor after execution
- Collaborate between teams
Successful product companies often pride strong development teams that are able to sense and respond to the changes in industry trends. It takes a strong design approach to help them maximize the value they deliver. At Koru, we have collaborated with medium to large companies that have customized products or SaaS-based applications and helped them grow through a full stack UX team that works as an extension to their product teams.
Consistency is crucial to the user experience because it creates a familiar framework that users can rely on whenever they interact with your brand or product. The look and feel of a design can contribute to the first layer of trust.
UX Principles are a set of guiding rules that help you make the best product possible. They encourage you to think design-led, keep things on track, and stay innovative. They must aim to achieve:-
- Informed decision-making
- Help build a better product
- Encourages everyone to harbor a design-led mindset
- Helps the design process stay on track and on time
- Enriches the value of feedback
- Helps push innovation
- Acts as a guiding light in every situation
User experience (UX) best practices are guidelines for creating and delivering great experiences. These practices help us develop applications, websites, and services that achieve their goals by creating positive user interactions:-
- The end user is your top priority.
- Keep it simple and useful.
- Focus on usability.
- Design with mobile in mind.
- Plan for the future.
- Be consistent.
Although there’s no one way to determine if a user experience is “good” or “bad,” there are some tell-tale signs that can help you figure it out:-
- Product feedback
- Easy Navigation
- Visual clues
- User rating
- Support tickets raised by user
- Heuristic principles
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