The consumer employee: 5 enterprise app requirements for a successful user experience
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies are no longer out of the norm. As employees spend a good chunk of their time at work on their phones anyway, more businesses are turning this to advantage, allowing digital work to be completed on personal tablets and smartphones. To allow team members to access their work outside of the typical 9 to 5 or while on the go, many companies build enterprise-level mobile applications to increase employee engagement and productivity.
As this type of mobile development gains steam, however, more pressure is placed on brands and their developers to build solutions with attractive and engaging user experience.
Don’t forget – your employees are still consumers. While they view their mobile devices as an extension of themselves, they still carefully consider apps before giving them a much-coveted place in their data-scarce smartphones and tablets. Not just any old app gets in. A work-focused app is already most likely going to have a low priority, so enterprise apps should focus on being fun, captivating and a tool team members can’t live without.
When strategizing your enterprise mobile solution, focus on building a user experience with the following elements and features:
1. Sense of Security
Treat your and your employees’ data as a bank would theirs. Banks take online and mobile app security very seriously, and as your business information should be one of your largest assets, you should follow their lead. If your employees worry over having their usernames and/or passwords, or even worse, their work hacked, they will hesitate to complete tasks from the enterprise app and use it to its full potential.
Even worse, a disconnection from Wi-Fi or their data-driven network can cause work to be lost during the editing or updating process, leading to heightened levels of employee frustration as well as a loss of efficiency and time – exactly the opposite of the enterprise app’s main goals. Include reminders about saving within the app often. Even better – include an auto save function to kick in every 30 seconds.
Bottom line – your employees should feel confident about the enterprise app’s security features and functionality. Any concern will effect use levels.
2. Visual Design Features
The most successful consumer mobile applications are built with eye-popping color, interesting movement and intuitive information architecture. If your app isn’t pretty, your users won’t enjoy using it, and engagement levels will plummet.
Here are a few things to consider:
- High-res images - As mobile devices now feature displays with a higher pixel count per square inch, image resolution is critical. Blurry, pixelated images are a huge turn-off. Avoid them at all costs.
- Size matters – Keep button, text and image within a reasonable size parameter. If your audiences have to pull out glasses to see screen elements, you have a problem.
- Personality – Make sure your brand and business culture shine through. Remember, in this day and age, consumers demand personalized attention, and your employees are no different. Every element should not only evoke the brand but should speak directly to the user.
Concerned your audience won’t love your design? They’re your employees. You see them every day. Show them a wireframe before implementing the design. If they react negatively, go back to the drawing board.
Enterprise applications are, at their very core, focused on providing employees with tools to complete their work more effectively and efficiently. If your mobile app doesn’t help each and every team member achieve their tasks and complete their responsibilities in a better way, the app becomes useless. Yes – some things will always will be easier and more efficient on a desktop computer. No one wants to draft an 800-word document on their iPhone. They’d lose their minds. They may, however, want to edit, update and comment on existing ones.
Speak with your employees to determine the type of functions they’d like complete on a mobile device. Yes, this will vary from department to department, and you can’t give everyone all of the features they’d like. However, by starting out with team input, you’re already putting your application on the road to success.
4. Clear Calls-to-Action
As explained above, every enterprise app should have a clear purpose. For every single user. The main menu should help direct employees to the right feature to help them complete their work. The longer a user has to navigate within the app, the more frustrated and less productive he or she will be.
For example, if one screen allows a user to edit, update or comment on a document, clear buttons should indicate how to do just that. If an included tool allows team members to access their email and/or connect with other employees, direct their attention to a prominent access point.
If you want your employees completing specific tasks within your mobile solution, you have to clearly tell them to do so. Don’t let them get lost in the application. They’ll exit and enter their Facebook app instead.
Slow apps are unused apps. Period. The more functionality you add to your enterprise app, the more work you have to put into streamlining the features and minimizing screen load times. Waiting for a screen to become accessible increases app bounce rates and reduces user interaction. Don’t build a powerful tool just to make it a roadblock to productivity.
Remember, Your Employees are Consumers
Your employees enjoy their mobile devices, because they can access information quickly, right at their fingertips. Games, social networking apps, banking apps all help them get through their day faster and in a more fun way. Your enterprise app should do the same for their work.
Without a strategized and targeted user experience strategy unfortunately, many enterprise apps crash and burn. Employees get frustrated and give up. Instead of increasing productivity and efficiency, a badly-designed app can have the opposite effect by not effectively addressing and meeting their needs.
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