Enterprise Software: the happy user!
Apple's 1984 Macintosh (By Alexander Shatov)
Software has become ubiquitous. It courses through the streams of our everyday lives.
From Facebook to Snapchat, Gmail to Google Maps, YouTube to Netflix, tech giants have pushed the envelope to an extent where some of the great features that were being dreamt up a decade ago are being received today with a simple yawn "oh cool, whatever"
While this is true for the consumer-facing industry, it's not far off for businesses either. Take away the heart emojis, the interactive loading pages, and the hovering bubbles and you'll find software with more of a 'no-nonsense' look: multiple menu options, setting nested under settings, and more.
This all-around seriousness mirrors the environment it's operated in: simply put, a 'serious' software is needed when working in a serious environment, a.k.a at the office.
Oracle's Flexcube screams 'work'. Although slightly updated in recent years, the no-nonsense look persists (Source: Oracle.com)
Enterprise application has vastly been categorized as a serious investment and the mantra has always been usability over aesthetics, functionality over layout.
Yet this approach, although more straightforward, has hindered one of the ultimate goals of software: increasing user happiness :)
The reason why we always seem to get glued to some of our favorite apps is because of the ease of use, things seem to flow very easily and muscle memory has only strengthened that bond.
Instagram is easily recognizable with its unique footer menu and user-friendly profile (Source: lindsey-gamble.com)
Used for leisure, apps like Instagram demonstrate high levels of user happiness. But happiness doesn't just come from using software that's easy to use. It comes from expectations and who or what introduces us to it.
In a work environment, business applications are like your supervisors, you consider them to be friendly and maybe even borderline friends but the relationship is weird and awkward as soon as you leave your work premises. Not Instagram though, that's yours to play with. It's available to you during work, after work, before dinner, after dinner, you name it.
A work pal can conversate with you about the game the night before but your friend will ask you about whether or not you'll be attending your high school crush's wedding.
Leaning on this metaphor, enterprise software is the work pal, safe and sound yet not always the go-to. Creating a relationship is key to software adoption and of course, increasing user happiness.
One company that is trying to bridge that gap is B2B messaging and productivity platform, Slack.
The app takes advantage of the loading page to transmit some positive messages (littlebigdetails.com)
Albeit, Slack has become synonymous with the WFH (Work From Home) trend but it has always managed to differentiate itself by making the experience more human-like, a trait that has been normalized with secular applications like Facebook and Instagram.
Many companies implement enterprise software in various parts of their business. They are used to enter data, crunch numbers, send approvals, and get reports. It's work and just work.
But where is the fun in that? Opening up Instagram to get a break is ironic. As it means opening one software to avoid using another. Breaking the office software stigma is not simple, yet business software providers can take a page out of Slack's book and work more solidly on "user happiness" rather than "user satisfaction".
Our Sparta Enterprise applications are here to address this disconnect. Users are key components to determining the success of software, especially during beta testing.
So instead of ignoring what the user will feel when using our application, we should incorprate it as one of the building blocks of software: Back-end, functionality, layout, and user happiness :)