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Gaining user experience for improving business software

How often have I not heard comments from fellow developers, like: “That’s designed for consumers; we make business software.” What this implies is that users of business software tolerate a lower usability level. Yet, when you come right down to it, both consumers and business workers are basically people using software. Admittedly, these target groups represent different use cases, but in my view, the starting point should be to look at and learn from the user experience.

When speaking about consumer products, the subject of user conversion rates often comes up. By this is meant identifying and removing obstacles in the expected user workflow. Let’s take the example of the checkout process on an online shopping site. Getting user views that explain the drop in the conversion helps developers dig deeper into how to improve the checkout experience and come up with alternative processes.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that ‘faster ‘is always better. But examples abound of faster processes resulting in users losing trust in the solution. When a search engine found the cheapest flights in seconds, the decline in the conversion led to interviewing users who revealed that the issue was one of trust: “It’s not possible to find the lowest price that quickly. The search must be manipulated.”

A big eye opener in the area of user experience was when the Apple iPhone was released seven years ago. It wasn’t the most feature-rich or most well-equipped phone by any means. But it sold like hotcakes – both to consumers and business users. Why? Because the user experience was key in the development. This illustrates the importance of the user experience.

It’s not that developers lack awareness of this importance today. But it’s still difficult to get it right. Having companies purchase software and then make users live with it just doesn’t cut it anymore. Developers want their software to make users feel enabled with a richer user experience – not limited.

So, to make products even better, user views are vital. We encourage that you share your ideas of what and how our offering to you could and should be better.

Robin Karlsson is a technical lead at the Calabrio R&D department based in Stockholm. He has 20 years of experience in the development of business administration software, and has been with Teleopti, which was acquired by Calabrio in 2019, since 2007. Every day, he’s focused on how to improve the user experience for the Calabrio WFM software.
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