4 tips for enterprises to think like the end user

21st Feb 2021

When thinking about the user experience in an enterprise environment, what comes to mind? For many, the answer is clunky platforms that are tough to navigate and have not been updated in a long time.

Enterprise software tends to be feature-rich and complex, which can result difficult user experiences and the loss of customers. Enterprise systems are created to accommodate multiple internal and external user roles and a range of actions that users can perform under each specific role. For example, a healthcare company’s telemedicine platform likely allows their patients to book a visit, consult with their doctor and view their recorded health data, while also giving their doctors and operations departments the capability to access their patients' health history, communicate with patients, and send invoices. Enterprise systems such as these allow an entire organization to operate in one space whilst also managing client needs.

Creating seamless customer and employee experiences should be oriented as the north star of any enterprise business, particularly when it comes to digital. After all, if you don’t have a customer, you don’t have a business.

The following four tips will help ensure UX teams are keeping the end-user top of mind:

1. Think of user needs instead of system needs

Developers would do well to adopt the practice of User-centered design (UCD) to ensure the end user gets the most out of enterprise platforms and digital experiences. UCD is an approach that prioritizes human needs, behaviors, and capabilities offering more streamlined solutions to retain customers. A Design Management Institute study found most design-centric enterprises – organizations that are focused on continuously improving user experience – on the S&P 500 outperformed their counterparts by 228 percent over the course of a 10-year period.

To think like an end user, a designers’ mindset should blend the approach of UCD and human-centered design (HCD), which considers that human behavior is variable and systems should be flexible to account for that variability.

When solving problems as a designer, try to avoid viewing issues as system errors or coding problems, rather think of them as user problems - what is it that the user finds difficult about it and why? By having empathy for the end-user, designers can formulate solutions to match user needs rather than arbitrarily making changes to optimize platforms.

2. What users say vs. What users do

UX researchers tend to understand the difference between what users say they want versus what they actually do, but developers may not.

By observing user patterns through permissible data, developers can better understand user behaviors to get to the heart of why a particular feature or update would be of benefit. Learn to dig deeper into UX research and a combination of qualitative and quantitative data to discover the real wants and needs of users.

3. Learn the hierarchy of user needs

User experience and satisfaction stems from the fulfillment of needs - the key is to rank these needs within a list of priorities. This approach is derived from Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. While designing UX for software, designers should first aim at fulfilling basic needs like smooth and hassle-free functionality before moving onto pretty interfaces and visual design.

4. Be the user

It’s a good idea for developers to actually use the product, not as a developer or product owner, but as the actual end-user. Conducting user observation exercises (UX research) is the closest developers can get to understanding how end users feel and their experiences while using the product.

The Takeaway

User satisfaction and experience should be a top priority because the success of the business hinges upon it. A solid and user-friendly interface and experience increases productivity, return business, and elevates the company at large. By implementing these tips, developers can improve their understanding of the end-user and fulfill their needs and expectations.


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