When it comes to determining if someone is a customer, user, or stakeholder, the users are the easiest to classify.
A user is anyone who uses your product.
Ironically in the case of internal products, users are often taken for granted, especially for products used inside organizations.
The line of thought is users didn’t really have a choice whether or not they used a product. It’s their job to use a product, so why care about the experience they had.
People do have a choice. And they can be quite crafty in finding ways around using a product that is a pain to use.
Or they use the product, but they dread it, and that outlook results in mistakes.
What if products for internal use were built with as much thought to being delightful to use as products sold directly to consumers?
People might enjoy their jobs more. They may do a better job. They might treat their customers better. Everyone wins!
Ok, that may be a bit of a stretch.
But improved user experience is a vital aspect to building powerful internal products. It starts with understanding your users, and using techniques to make sure what you build is something they don’t dread using.
This week I’ve shared some resources that describe a variety of techniques for understanding your users, their different roles, and making sure that your product is not something they will dread opening up on a Monday morning.
A persona defines a typical user of a product. They help you understand the context in which people use the product to help guide your design decisions. Personas originated from Alan Cooper’s work on user-centered design.
User modeling is a technique used to establish a commonly agreed-upon list of user roles for a product. This list of user roles and their descriptions provides helpful context for user stories and other backlog items.
Partnering to Improve Usability
After many years of working as a product owner, Krystina Edwards embarked on her first project partnering with a user experience team. Throughout this project she began to understand the value from user testing during development and the extent of the bias in her design work.
Usability testing is a long-established, empirical and exploratory technique to answer questions such as “how would an end user respond to our software under realistic conditions?”
It consists of observing a representative end user interacting with the product, given a goal to reach but no specific instructions for using the product.
Members of the team observe the user’s actions without intervening, recording what transpires. Post-test analysis will focus on any difficulties encountered by the user, illustrating differences between the team’s assumptions and actual behaviour.
User Experience is relevant in Enterprise Software.
User experience has historically been an afterthought for enterprise products. Users had to use whatever the company paid for and the richness of features was deemed more attractive than a stunning experience.
In recent years, the situation has changed completely. Today, for every task and process, companies can choose from multiple comparable solutions.
There’s only one thing that sets them apart — user experience.
UXPin surveyed over 3,100 product, engineering, and design professionals from around the world and shared their findings in a free report. (Registration required)
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Talk to you next week,
Kent J. McDonald