Business apps are built to help professionals in specific enterprises perform work-related tasks. They connect to company databases and systems, and support many simultaneous users who use them to carry out different functions. Consumer apps, on the other hand, can be used by anyone, and they are used primarily for convenience and enjoyment.
Good UX design emphasizes on simplifying an app and aims at making it easy to use. Since the two groups of applications target distinct audience who use them to perform different tasks, their user experience design also varies across the board. For example, building commercial apps is relatively easier because developers don't have as many technical concerns to overcome as is the case with business applications. It is therefore essential for designers to consider the target clients for various apps before creating their user experience. Below are some helpful guidelines that development teams can follow when designing the usability of business apps.
1. Align task flows with end-user processes
Ensuring that procedures in business applications go hand in hand with workflow is of essence when building apps for professionals. You can achieve this by involving the end-users in the development process. You should also ensure that they test the UX and see how they interact with various functions before the app is released to production.
2. Guide multi-step processes
In most cases, professionals have to accomplish complex tasks before completing a project. The user experience of business apps should, therefore, track the progress of the employees in each stage and let them know what they need to do to advance to the next step. You can also add in gaming elements to make repetitive tasks seem less boring. An example is making complex tasks look like missions where employees gain points when they overcome various levels.
3. Aim for consistency
Development teams should not go overboard with innovation when designing the usability of business apps. Representation of features should be consistent all through the applications. Folders, buttons, menus, and documents, for example, should be represented using conventional objects and they should carry out corresponding tasks throughout the app. Also ensure that your apps conform to standard practice among users, such as the rule of dragging sliders and not pressing them.
4. Integrate search functions and clear documentation
When designing business apps, your primary objective should be simplifying processes and making the apps easy to use for new employees. Complex apps are a threat to organizations as new workers require training before they can use them. It also takes time before other employees become accustomed to them. You can enhance the learning process by integrating a comprehensible and informative documentation section in the app to assist users to know how to carry out specific functions. The instructions should also be accessible in-process so that users don't have to go back and forth to find documentation for various tools or processes.
5. Keep in mind that not all business apps are suitable for mobile platforms
For professional applications, mobile is not always a given as some functions are better executed using computers. It would require a lot of input from employees, for example, to complete complex and multi-step tasks on mobile devices or tablets. Such projects would also consume a lot of time. If a company mostly deals with large volumes of data which have to be fed into a system, then it makes more sense to design applications that can only be installed on computers. Building a separate mobile experience for such organizations would be a waste of time and resources.
6. Efficiency is key
Business applications should aim at achieving efficiency as employees use them daily to execute work-related functions. Workers are happier and more willing to use apps that help them to carry out various tasks with a few keystrokes or clicks. Efficient apps make it easy and more fun for employees to perform repetitive tasks. Efficiency should also factor in error tolerance and the length of time it takes users to learn how to use the apps effectively.
For more tips and help with enhancing the usability of business applications, contact us today.