User experience, the holy grail of SMB automation
This post is to share our experiences while building Indian SMB oriented automation built with ‘Mobile first’ approach.We call it Bizom(Business on the move).
While building Bizom, first thing we did was to make it our job to focus on users(after all we stand for ‘Mobile made easy’).
Following are some of the things we learned
- Number one reason why enterprise automation systems fail is due to poor usability.
- Our field users are people who can read English but are not necessarily tech savvy.
- Our users know how to use their mobile phones but have rarely downloaded or used any applications apart from call/phonebook.
Here are 5 things we followed to build easy user interface for Bizom.
Drill in your head that you are NOT the user.
It’s a huge temptation for startup teams to huddle and ‘branstorm’ about UX of the app.It’s useful of course but the input for it should come from interviews with real users(not your own salemen).In initial days of conceiving Bizom our whole product team visited field at least once to understand the pain points and conditions our field users work in. This made sure that while building the application ‘offline functionality’ was as important as ‘online’.
Usability/User experience != Cool user interface
Usability of the app is defined by how easily your users can start using the app.Making the app pleasant on eyes helps, but the main focus should be to layout the information in a way which is logical to user.Engineering team usually wants to put actions on related objects nearby.I think it’s product managers responsibility to work with engineering team to let them see customer viewpoint.
Usability over feature completeness.
Majority of enterprise business owners would want all the features on the day of ‘launch’.It’s our responsibility to senstivise them to usability issue.It’s much better that users use the limited features provided in the application, than an application which has everything but impossible to use for a regular user.
User’s are never dumb. softwares are.
When a field user reports an issue while using your software, your response should never be that it’s a ‘training’ issue.If built correctly, users are eager to learn new things and want to prove their smartness by using our software correctly.We just have to make it friendly to them.
Customers who give feedback on usability are worth their weight in gold.
Initial customers are eager to help us build the product.Take their feedback very very sincerely especially if it is related to user experience of the app.Happy lead customers are the source of our viral word of mouth publicity.
Bonus: Give fanatical support
Support is a very important part of user experience of your product.What is obvious to us is not necessarily obvious to end user.Monitor your support calls and bring about the change in thinking of your support staff to make it a pleasant experience to your users.
What do you think?