3 ways companies can improve their UX

Companies must improve UX

User experience remains one of the most important criteria in determining the success of enterprise software. Regardless of the type of app or the audience it is geared toward, poor UX will easily sink a piece of software before it ever has a chance to find its footing. Even if a given application is functionally sound, various factors could tarnish its UX, turning away potential users. Given the high costs involved in both app and software development and testing, business leaders cannot afford to have a program fail in this manner. To avoid such expensive scenarios, development teams should improve UX at every opportunity. Here are three ways to do just that:

1. Develop for the end user
This may sound obvious, but software developers need to create applications that meet the needs of their intended audience. The truth is that many teams lose sight of this basic, yet critical, notion. They spend so much time making sure that an application functions properly and that certain bells and whistles make their way into the final product that UX gets put in the background. Even the most helpful piece of software will fail to find an audience if it is too much trouble to actually use on a regular basis.

“Developers need to create applications that meet the needs of their audience.”

Enterprise software developers should be particularly cognizant of this point and create applications that are geared toward the average employee. Consumers are a shrewd audience, but enterprise users are arguably even more discerning when it comes to adopting an app. Anything that is too convoluted to quickly pick up, learn and effectively wield will likely be dropped in favor of a more intuitive program. By anticipating the needs and demands of these users, developers can craft more effective software that offers better engagement.

2. Bury the hatchet
Developers and designers do not always see eye to eye – that just comes with the territory. However, these two groups need to work in concert if they are to produce a product with flawless UX. A recent study commissioned by Kony found that an inability of designers and developers to get along was one of the most common pain points for software development projects. According to DeveloperTech, some surveyed designers complained that their advice and design expertise is often pushed to the wayside by developers. Without the guidance of design teams, a software project can quickly go off the rails, particularly in regard to critical concerns such as user interface.

Under these circumstances, production teams are essentially left with two choices: spend the additional time and resources fixing resulting UX problems or simply release the app as is. Neither option is ideal since they will both likely lead to lost revenue – or worse. A rushed piece of software with problematic UX could damage an organization’s reputation in addition to the loss of potential sales. For enterprise apps, employees will refuse to adopt such programs, resulting in wasted design, development and QA costs. Furthermore, staff members may be less likely to give future releases a chance if they have lost faith in their company’s ability to create high-quality software or applications in-house.

If designers and developers work together from the outset of a project and focus their efforts on creating an intuitive and easy-to-manage UI, they will put themselves in a much better position to offer end users quality UX.

Developers and designers need to put their differences aside and work together on improving UX.Developers and designers need to put their differences aside and work together on improving UX.

3. Get agile
When implemented effectively, agile methodologies can be a boon for enterprise software UX. One of the major tenets of agile is that developers should continually listen to user feedback to improve their applications and create finished products that better meet the needs of their intended audience.

Despite the focus agile puts on end-user feedback, some in the development community have worried that the practice could ultimately prove to be detrimental to UX. A recent Zymr blog post noted that because agile processes are typically broken down into smaller chunks like regular sprints, development teams could lose sight of the broader picture when it comes to UX.

However, organizations can happily marry the mindset behind agile with the goal to provide high-quality UX. For one, agile assumes that users can’t really know what they want from a piece of software until they have it sitting in front of them. Because of this, multiple release iterations are built into the agile process, so even if the first version is not up to snuff, developers and designers can gather feedback and make improvements.

“Users can’t really know what they want from software until it’s sitting in front of them.”

The Zymr post suggested that designers and developers take a parallel track approach to UX. This involves the design team working one step ahead of developers, making improvements to the UI while their counterparts write code. Once a particular sprint is released, designers can then check the usability of that build to ensure the UX meets expectations.

UX and customer experience design should always be at the forefront for developers, designers and quality assurance teams when creating any new piece of software. It is important that project stakeholders consider the entire scope of what constitutes UX. UI is one aspect, but so is user engagement, ease of use and the overall value that an app or piece of software offers. By keeping these factors in mind, development teams can create better software that addresses user needs effectively.

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Enterprise mobility concepts have place in nonprofits too

Enterprise Mobility for Nonprofits

There have been countless new ideas that have stemmed from widespread smartphone adoption. In fact, many businesses have been founded on a concept that would not have been possible without the popularity of consumer devices like the iPhone. Services like Uber and Lyft, for example, have changed how people catch a ride. This has caused some serious disruption in the taxi and livery industries.

“Engaging an audience is easy in a software-defined setting.”

But one other place that this idea could take hold is in the nonprofit sector. According to Nonprofit Quarterly contributor Jeanne Allen, ridesharing capabilities have been used by nonprofit organizations to help provide relief in areas that have been struck by a natural disaster. This helps people to stay mobile even if their own cars or normal means of transportation have been disabled.

Nonprofits have a lot to learn from enterprise mobility. There are a number of different ways in which solid business strategies can be appropriated for the nonprofit industry in order to better serve people in need. While individual use cases will vary, there is one thing that’s certain: Custom software solutions are the only way to go. While there may be other apps out there that do the same thing that a nonprofit is trying to accomplish, programs have to be designed for the specific entities that are using them in order to experience the best possible results.

Apps help build community
Nonprofits don’t necessarily have a consumer base as much as they do a community to engage. According to Business 2 Community contributor Wendy Burt-Thomas, this is why former Livestrong CEO Doug Ulman believes that social media is so valuable to nonprofit companies.

“There is a difference between a community and a crowd,” Ulman said, according to Burt-Thomas. “In a crowd, people push and shove and try to get a step ahead. In a community, people look around, they smile and share a story, because they know that a community doesn’t move forward unless they all move forward together.”

It’s undeniable that social media got a huge leg-up from the constant accessibility enabled by smartphone and tablet applications. This is something that nonprofits have to keep in mind – the sense of community that they’re looking for can be found in apps that encourage social interactions and involvement. Engaging an audience is easy in a software-defined setting, and doing so can help nonprofits to increase awareness, donations and support by making these things fun, simple and social.

Social media apps have helped to prove the importance of community in mobile connectivity. Enterprise mobilitySocial media apps have helped to prove the importance of community in mobile connectivity.

The importance of custom software
For any given task, there are countless apps out there that claim to be capable of handling it. But many of these programs are not designed with specific organizations in mind, meaning they only have a general understanding of what a company actually does. In order to make sure that a nonprofit gets the most out of an application, it’s important to invest in custom software development. This will ensure that target audiences are engaged and the overall goal is reached.

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Applications are key to enterprise mobility

While devices themselves play an important role in enterprise mobility, they are not the focus anymore. It is generally understood that one of two kinds of smartphones will enter the workplace and businesses don’t have to provide them like they used to. Professionals, in turn, need to be supported with effective applications that are designed specifically for the organization in question.

“The last 12 months in enterprise mobility have been fascinating,” wrote AppsTechNews contributor James Bourne. “BYOD has become increasingly entrenched in organizational policy, yet there are still – rightly – security concerns, with the source of blame not pointed so much at malware and hackers, but employees mislaying data through error or ignorance.”

This is prevented by making sure that the right programs are in place for use by staffers. The best solution for the job, however, is going to vary by company. This is why custom software development will be so critical to success in the coming year.

Enterprises trying to increase productivity
According to Computer Weekly contributor Alex Scroxton, recent research shows that the main reason for enterprise mobility software investments is a desire to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. The Enterprise Mobility Exchange found that 70 percent of business buyers have sought out applications for this very reason.

Modern professionals understand how smartphones can streamline their daily tasks. There is an incredible amount of productivity that can be unlocked through these devices, but it is only possible with software that improves the user experience in some way.

Custom mobile app development has to be capable of producing programs that live up to the expectations of the people that will be using it. Unless enterprise software has business professionals in mind from the get-go, it is not likely to succeed.

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What is the Bottom Line for Mobile? – INFOGRAPHIC

Measuring the ROI of custom mobile apps

There are a multitude of investments that any given business needs to make. These days, spending in this sense will reflect changes in enterprise technology. As the average employee has become more apt in performing basic IT operations, the possibilities for innovation within a company have exploded. As such, more organizations are looking to invest in the tools their staff members need.

One area that is seeing increased interest is custom mobile app development. Smartphones quickly made their way from status symbol to commonly-leveraged tool, and as a result, people are more readily-able to use them in professional settings – even outside of the office. This is pushing a larger number of businesses to invest in apps that are geared specifically toward the company.

As mobility becomes a greater necessity, organizations must supplement the devices of their workers with sanctioned software developed for their specific needs. This may sound unnecessary, given that there are so many consumer-grade solutions out there that are available for free. But when examining the actualreturn on investment that custom software development can provide, the plan of action is obvious. Businesses have to invest in the proper tools in order to find success.

Determining an app’s ROI

There are several things that need to be considered when plotting out the return on investment for custom programs. One thing to consider is just how important mobility is to the modern employee. Now that people are able to work from home as easily as they can from the office, having powerful smartphone assets is a must.

“These days, it’s increasingly rare that ‘work’ is exclusively done at a traditional desk, in a traditional office on a traditional desktop computer,” wrote ZDNet contributor Charles McLellan. “Of course plenty of people still operate in this way, but many also want or need to be able to perform a range of business tasks on the most convenient device they can lay their hands on, wherever they may be.”

This is one of the areas where custom software solutions can deliver significant ROI. By ensuring that mobile apps are effective in a company-specific way, organizations can increase productivity and employee satisfaction. This should not, however, be confused with allowing workers to select their own solutions. These tools are rarely checked for security and could potentially breach sensitive information to unintended recipients. Additionally, the use of several different programs by multiple employees to complete a single task can create a disconnect among workers. For mobile initiatives to return the greatest investment, having a unified interface for all employees will be essential.

Apps can also be of great value when deployed for customer use. Think about it – loyal consumers can download a direct connection to a business, where they provide a great deal of information regarding things like spending habits and responses to marketing. By leveraging this data and using it to drive growth and alter strategies, organizations can save a considerable amount of money and have hard facts regarding what works and what doesn’t.

Getting with the times

As it stands, there is an incredible number of businesses that are embracing custom software development. Many organizations that have already built these kinds of apps are reporting an average revenue growth of 44 percent and a profit increase of 34 percent. Similarly, companies have reported a 30 percent increase in sales efficiency when using mobile apps designed for their offices specifically. If there is one thing for certain, it is that mobility is a new essential, but the only way to approach it properly is through custom software development.

Mobile development costs

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