In our first installment, designers from companies like HP, Boeing, and Hubspot described their best practices.
You can read their advice in Part 1.
Now, we’ll turn to designers from Core Logic, 3M, Crazy Egg, and Salesforce for their advice.
1. Finding the right user research participants
Louis Elfman – Design Lead, Core Logic
Despite all of the support and goodwill of the entire executive team, it’s still incredibly difficult for us to get research participants. The problem is twofold:
- Difficulty in external sourcing – In my case, finding mortgage bankers at mid-size banks isn’t as easy as a CraigsList ad.
- Lack of understanding internally – People don’t understand the need for actual research).
We use a multi-pronged approach: building a relationship with Sales and Account Management to recruit on our behalf and to relay to us the feedback they’re getting; using external recruiting agencies; trawling LinkedIn, professional associations and personal networks (going guerrilla).
None of these is a silver bullet. But together they’ve proven effective enough. As we deepen our relationship with Sales and Account Management, we can start to implement an actual process for recruiting participants on an ongoing and ad hoc basis.
One final tip: interview sales team members. It yields valuable information and shows them the actual process so they’re not threatened by it (sales people hold their customer relationships very tightly). It also makes them feel valuable so they’re more motivated to help us.
2. Prioritizing features for end-user value
Andy Vitale – Interaction Designer, 3M Healthcare
How do we really focus on what’s most important and transform those insights into impactful changes?
Organizations often believe that enterprise solutions have to be everything to everyone, which leads to competing stakeholder priorities. While it’s true that enterprise UX does involve robust data, interactions and features, the core design principles still apply.
Today, enterprise users expect the same quality of experience as consumer products. But because stakeholders are not the target audience, they have a desire to continually add features for every perceived problem. Additional features don’t always mean additional value.
Educate stakeholders on the importance of knowing the enterprise user.
True understanding of your users – their pain points, emotions, articulated and unarticulated needs, etc. will result in the optimal enterprise solution. Approach enterprise UX the same way as consumer UX. Talk to users. Observe them with intent. Involve them in journey mapping to understand their emotions and needs across every touchpoint. Allow users to interact with prototypes to validate concepts.
We know that 95 percent of the users use 5 percent of the features. Focus on the 5 percent. Once you have the core framework and functionality, you can always expand on that.
3. Designing the right problem
Jessica Tiao, “JT” – Product Designer, Crazy Egg
Design is about separating the solution from the problem.
The greatest challenge I face as a designer is getting caught up in the designs before understanding the why.
Design has always been my happy place. With an empty white board and marker, I slip into a zone of determination. I am itching to sketch out the best design. It’s going to have a slick interaction here. It will use a blue hue for the sidebar. I feel exhilarated.
But you can’t design awesome things if you don’t understand the problem. As enterprise apps evolve, simple designs turn into complicated headaches. Under the hood, legacy code piles up.
Living design systems need to stay fresh and consistent.
Good design starts with words.
The success of an enterprise product depends on two factors: the person using it and if the product can make them better at their jobs.
For your next project, write a series of narrative-based use cases. A storytelling approach will help you dive into each step of a user’s journey. It’s a framework for you and your team to solve wicked enterprise problems.
A lot of us want to rush into this from the other end: focusing on the visual details. We get sucked into the void of solutions and lose sight of the problem.
Breakthroughs come from writing. When you work relentlessly to give your users the most compelling experience possible with thoughtful design and writing – you’ve approached the problem with intention.