A streamlined, easy user experience is a key take-away from MIS5109, User Experience Design, when it comes to external business applications and websites. The overarching goal: don’t ever make the customer think too hard. But which customers?
What about the internal applications and intranet sites? Don’t those end-users deserve to not think so hard when utilizing these applications and sites? Aren’t those end-users entitled to a great user experience? Absolutely.
As discussed in my recent post about journey mapping, customers can be defined by a great amount of different attributes: are these subjects internal or external, are they looking for a product or service, or is the entire company one customer? Whatever the case, a customer is a customer, is a customer.
So why are companies making their intranet sites and associate-facing applications not so user friendly?
I remember the first day I started my first job as a floor associate in the furniture department at Walmart. I spent over two whole weeks getting acquainted with the internal system and how to use it. Even after the two weeks were up, I had a slew of questions throughout the next few months about the kinks and queries of the internal system. There were so many poor usability characteristics, bad layouts and slow operating systems, that I realized Walmart may as well have updated their internal system to something more user-friendly instead of spending three-months worth of money on me as a new employee.
The expense of great usability should be justified for internal and external usage. Again, as a business, your customers come in many different forms – employees are one of them.
Reasons to invest in great UX applications/sites internally:
- Reduce the amount of time employees need to on-board, along with the amount of frustration and wasted money
- Craft a better experience for both employees and end-users (customers) by offering a streamlined in-house experience for both parties.
- Reduce calls to help desk with errors due to internal equipment/apps.
Remember, user experience definitely matters regardless of the user being internal or external. For a more holistic picture of where your customers may need applications for a better user experience, try constructing a customer journey map and focusing on touch points where your customers are interacting with your employees.