Back in 2010, MeasuringU reported that B2B applications had two times more usability issues than consumer software and 10 times more than on websites. The maturation of user experience (UX) and general ease of usability in application development have come a long way. However, only recently have consumer-focused development and shifts in workplace culture caused businesses to build in a way that is user focused.
Common Barriers to Usability
You may have heard that application development was the final frontier for usability – a Star Trek reference alluding to the fact that usability was a low priority for developers and it showed. The primary concerns were, and still are, complexity and security. While those are very important priorities, you should now be putting user experience alongside them as well.
Below are some of the common barriers that can prevent UX from becoming a focus for application development teams.
- Your business lacks a UX culture. If you don’t have roles on your development team to advocate for ease of use and streamline user needs across other development teams, your application will show it.
- Having multiple types of end users or stakeholders can complicate finding one single ease of use solution and lead developers to make choices that could alienate an entire user group.
- The buyer of the application is almost always a C-Level Executive who won’t use the platform. Typically, this can lead to making purchasing decisions based on price and not user experience.
- Businesses might be reluctant to upgrade or replace legacy applications due to cost – even when they are nearly unusable.
- Bespoke, or custom application development is the norm. Businesses want something that is tailored to their specific needs. This can make effective usability testing more elusive and costly.
Consumer Focused Development
Almost everyone deals with some form of software application every day. The platforms that have better ease of use are the ones that stick around. Whether it be going on social media, listening to music or making an airplane reservation online, the average person deals with software that is intuitive, engaging and simplistic. It is only logical that we would all want that same type of experience at work.
Workers are, in fact, the consumers of many of these applications. They should be thought about as such and the application development world has already started to turn in that direction. In fact, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report noted that out of 2000 global executives, almost 75% stated that UX was important to their development efforts.
Shifts in Workplace Culture
Modern workplaces are quite different than they used to be. Due to enterprise applications themselves, businesses have been able to streamline processes. The same can be said for startups. Startups have lower barriers to entry today due to innovation in the off-the-shelf business applications available. These budding companies select software based on two primary criteria: price and usability.
The adoption of agile processes in more established businesses also favor ease of use platforms that are basically training free and mobile optimized. Over 40% of US employees access enterprise software on their personal smartphones. The modern workplace has changed quite a bit in the past few years and business applications need to align with these sudden shifts in workplace and consumer culture.
Could Your Application Use Better UX?
The vast majority of applications are focusing more on user experience than ever before. If your legacy software needs a facelift or you need a custom application built with a focus on user experience, contact Next Horizon.