We have seen it hundreds of times: staff members, with their fingers tense on the keyboard, simultaneously pressing Alt and Tab to switch between the two open applications. One app needs to show the data necessary to fill out the report. The other is to display the form where they must input that data; in the middle, a post-it note is stuck on the side saying which ones not to forget. How do you get to such a complex experience for such a simple task? The complexity negatively impacts the individual’s productivity and the company’s performance.
It is a cultural issue. Historically, the world of digital tool and product development seemed to be divided into different universes: external users (B2C, for business to consumer, i.e., from a company to end consumers) and internal users (B2E, for business to employee, from the organization to its employees). Although there is also the B2B (business to business) model, we will concentrate on the first two in this article.
In the first case, applications tend to have a powerful value proposition, as many unique elements as possible, and features that make them entertaining, different, attractive, impactful, and, of course, functional. The objective? More and more users feel drawn by the product and are allowed to accelerate the reason they were created, be it monetization, customer loyalty, or service delivery. The fact that there may be other similar competing solutions makes this game even more challenging and exciting for the product team and UX designers. No differentiator and no value proposition mean no adoption and, consequently, no success.
When the user is captive
The opposite may be true. The feeling that the user is captive and has no choice but to use those tools provided by their organization to complete their daily tasks, no matter how the experience turns out. Generally speaking, the focus is on functionality -that applications do what they are supposed to do. But there is little or no research on their use, the context to complete tasks, the inconveniences suffered by users, and the nature of the processes not covered by the tool.
The big difference between a B2C and a B2E tool is that in the case of B2E, the acquisition decision-making process is not aligned with the adoption decision-making process. After consumers download an app and try it out, they can choose another option. However, in the corporate world, only the decision maker is responsible for determining which tool to use or when to change or stop using it.
That is why the focus is on the digital product itself, not its use. We want efficiency in processes, an increase in productivity, or greater agility in customer service. But rarely do we think about how to achieve this, considering the user’s convenience and usefulness while performing their daily activities.
The importance of UX in digital transformation
A change of mindset is necessary. It is time to think in an employee-centric way when choosing or creating digital solutions for them. In a game of paradoxes, the more friendly, optimal, and attractive the employee experience is while using the applications and tools, the better their results will be, the higher the levels of engagement, and even the more focused and motivated they will be. We agree that this is basic when talent is scarce and when attracting and retaining the right human capital is a competitive advantage.
A user who has to deal every day with an interface that complicates tasks, who must take numerous unnecessary or inconvenient steps to achieve what is needed, or who does not even have the capabilities to perform all the duties (for example, resorting to another digital tool to get additional information or complete reports) will work less efficiently and feel more frustrated, a situation that sooner or later will affect the bottom line of the business.
The employee-centric vision is essential in a digital transformation process. It is possible to obtain the maximum value from the digitization of internal processes.
Involving the Product and UX team in developing B2E applications breaks the prevailing paradigm and benefits the employees and the organization. Satisfied employees work to their full potential. The biased notion of savings generation is defeated if potential losses – or loss of profit- are considered since the investment in improving user experience can also entail a monetary return.