It would be an understatement to say that COVID-19 has significantly altered people’s personal and professional lives. On the business front, most enterprises have been struggling with business continuity challenges as they grapple with the new reality of sustained Work From Home (WFH). To ensure operationality and employee productivity in the midst of this mayhem, many organizations’ previous focus on user experience (UX) has taken a backseat due to a siloed/flawed approach to UX management.
For example, in a recent Everest Group survey with enterprises on their response to the pandemic:
While measuring true user experience has been a perpetual challenge for enterprises, COVID-19 has made it even more difficult given the dynamic and contextual nature of UX.
The following exhibit showcases how the initial user experience associated with WFH adoption was positive and then dipped due to various challenges such as poor work-life balance and lack of physical proximity to colleagues. However, the UX gradually improves as users adapt to and embrace WFH as the new normal.
This next exhibit shows how UX is highly contextual and varies with a change in the user’s location, time, and preferences, leading to a different user reaction for the same incident. This is because UX is a continuous outcome and cannot be effectively measured at a specific point in time.
A longitudinal study is a research design that involves observing variables over a period of time to understand the effects of time and background variables on the observation. In a UX context, measuring longitudinal user experiences provides enterprises with a holistic UX management approach to identify, uncover, and interpret an exhaustive list of hidden factors that contribute to UX variation. When tracked over time, it helps organizations understand the impact of any specific work disruption or workplace initiative on UX. In other words, measuring longitudinal experiences helps enterprises resolve the mystery of what users want, need, and dislike, with tangible data to back it up.
Measuring longitudinal experiences will allow enterprises to elevate their UX management strategy with a holistic focus on various technological touchpoints such as devices, applications, networks, and employee-level attributes to accommodate the contextual and dynamic nature of UX.
UX management tools provide end-to-end visibility of user experiences, identify back-end challenges, and address them while ensuring consistent and high-quality front-end experiences. In addition to real-time monitoring of end-users and applications, enterprises can leverage these tools for vulnerability assessments, root cause analyses, and prescriptive resolution.
To create an exhaustive list of factors that contribute to UX, any holistic UX management tool needs to capture user activity across the dimensions listed in the below table.
|Devices||Track usage across various end-user devices (laptops, desktops, tablets, mobile) and other workplace devices such as telephony and printers to ensure high system availability, compliance, and performance.|
|Applications (web, mobile, desktop, cloud)||Track the complete application landscape across devices and platforms to identify and proactively resolve availability, compatibility, and performance issues.|
|Network||Continuously monitor network devices to identify/resolve problems such as connectivity issues, security vulnerabilities, network errors, bandwidth fluctuations, and latency issues.|
|Employee attributes||Holistically track employee attributes through relevant metrics over a period of time to remove noise and identify the true impact of any change on UX.|
The UX management space has grown tremendously over the last two to three years, and new technology vendors have joined the ranks of native vendors such as Google and Microsoft.
Here are key considerations that enterprises should keep in mind when selecting a UX management partner:
In addition to segmentation by scope, the vendor landscape can also be segmented by native and emerging vendors. Native vendors consist of players who already have a successful base product in the market and are providing analytics capabilities on top of it. Emerging vendors provide license-based analytics software that connects with native vendors’ prevalent products and platforms to aggregate data for analytics.
|Native vendors||Emerging vendors|
|Include CISCO, Citrix, Google, Microsoft, OEMs, Oracle, and VMware||Include 1E, AppDynamics (CISCO), AppNeta, Aternity, CatchPoint, Datadog, Dynatrace, eG Innovation, Enow, Lakeside, Microfocus, New Relic, Nexthink, Rigor, Sinefa, SolarWinds Pingdom, and ThousandEyes (CISCO)|
We’ll soon be launching a new vendor assessment in the Digital Experience Management product space, so keep your eyes peeled. Please contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] for more information.
The digital services market is seeing a lot of traction, with technology companies acquiring digital and creative agencies to expand their digital portfolio. A modern digital services provider is continuously adding services into its digital portfolio, such as social, mobile, analytics, and cloud. Digital agencies help these technology providers build expertise in customer insight, user interface (UI) design, and campaign design. Hence, digital acquisitions help service providers expand quickly, and compete to grab a larger pie of the digital services market.
This is leading to a new disruptive model where customers get creative and seek business strategy from one firm instead of multiple agencies and consulting firms. However, the integration between consulting, design, and system development/deployment is harder to achieve on real customer engagements.
The new digital landscape is making a significant impact on traditional delivery models. Most organizations have adopted agile and DevOps models to help development and operation teams deliver with higher speed and efficiency. The focus on digital and design thinking is pushing organizations to think through new models to integrate user experience (UX) with agile delivery teams.
Traditionally, there has been little overlap between UX and development teams, and both teams have operated in silos. In order to provide digital capabilities, service providers are setting up design studios to ideate and prototype digital solutions for clients. This requires UI designers, solution architects, and developers to quickly prototype a solution to test feasibility before piloting the solution.
UX professionals might find it difficult to understand and collaborate with agile teams. UX designers typically focus on laying out the entire design in one go. In contrast, development teams focus on creating a “Minimal Viable Product” using agile methodology.
Historically, enterprises have adopted an internal agency approach wherein the UI designers are allocated to projects based on their area of specialization. But, this model may not be best suited in the new digital world, wherein UI designers and development teams need to work in tandem to quickly deliver sprints. In cross-functional teams, UI designers will have to be closely aligned to the agile teams for digital transformation projects.
There are several ways enterprises can address some of these challenges:
Enterprises that are able to think ahead and focus on solving these team integration challenges will be able to reap the most benefit from an integrated digital environment. As I see it, enterprises have barely started with DevOps! So the cultural shift to DevOps might need to be even more dramatic, as it now needs to integrate design as well!