The user versus the software vender is a hate love relationship.
Enterprise software usually does not sell to the end user, so why would it be designed for the user? Feature requests are the main influencers of product roadmaps, the user experience becomes often an after thought. The reason of this is that a feature can be put on a price list, are sellable and you can easily create a positive business plan with a good return on the investment. The overall user experience is for people who are no active voice during the sales process, so why would you do this.
Stuff enterprise software considered normal
- The only supported browser is Internet Explorer.
- You need to enable your popup blocker for this site, otherwise it doesn't work.
- The famous yellow bars in IE with some kind of ActiveX control being installed.
- There are x updates for your system, you need to restart
As a user I
- Want freedom of choice for my favorite browser, or even better I want freedom to choose a device I like.
- What is a popup blocker? And if I happen to know what it is, I surely don't know how to turn it off.
- Don't bother me with the installation questions, I don't know what to do with it anyway. Do what you want as long as I don't notice it. Just don't interrupt my work process.
- Ok, I understand updates are necessary, but not now while I'm busy. You are disturbing me.
I'm happy I do see a change and there is definitely improvement on it's way. Users, with the help of social media, have become more verbal and enterprise software vendors start to realize the importance of creating excellent experiences.
The social web and e-commerce is leading the pack with business software vendors still lacking behind. It's time to shift the top priority on the roadmap to the user and add features only when excellent experience can be maintained. In the debate user versus technology I will always take the position of the user, because too few people do so. I will challenge the engineers to do better, because I know they can do better than we have seen until now.
Are you struggling to deliver better user experiences? Contact me and I might be able to help you.
Image: Jared and Corin