Why I Think Designing for Enterprise is Good for Your UX Career
Fortune 500 companies have huge opportunities for solid UX designers. Many of these enterprises struggle with their software and processes that run the company.
Most of them start to understand the need for a good UX, even for internal use. The main reasons are increasing sales, saving money, improving customer experience or simply making employees, partners or customers happier.
Good UX is a part of their brand. It’s a marketing tool. As the new generations are in power, businesses are tested all around the globe. They face the love and hate on social media and more importantly —word of mouth marketing. In my opinion, these days are ideal for clever and open minded UX designers. Why?
1. You design products changing the world
Designing for enterprise means simplifying complex processes and automating what you can. There are many examples, where a clever task automation saved companies millions of dollars every year.
As an enterprise software designer, processes and applications you design are used by thousands or tens of thousands of people, eight hours a day. It’s much greater responsibility and challenge than designing “another cool app”.
If you design your solution well, the impact is tremendous. Managers have more time to care about employees, who are already happier by using reliable tools that help them become effective in their job. The more you automate, the more people can be used in actual decisioning, where human brain is required.
You can free them from manual work that robots can do. You make their job truly better.
2. You learn how to work with strong opinions and stakeholders
I know many designers who consider this to be painful. In many cases, it’s because we designers let our ego talk first. If you listen before speaking, you realise people who have strong opinions are usually the people who know the most about the business.
You will learn to work with their needs and opinions. Your goal should be to build good relationships with them. There are multiple methods you can use to avoid strong opinions affecting the end result using evidence-based design approach. In the end of the day, we don’t design products for ourselves.
My advice would be to read a lot about psychology. You are building a bridge between customers and business. Get to the bottom line of the problem and keep listening what stakeholders telling you. Once you extract true requirements and needs, you should be able to satisfy most of your stakeholders.
3. You learn that nothing has to be perfect
Designing enterprise apps comes with a great responsibility for the end result. Accept the fact that nothing has to be perfect and you will do a better job. Designing will be faster and and more accurate due to quick iterations.
Your main goal should be to improve what is currently in place. Don’t spend time on details if there are processes to automate or improve.
4. You realise that no designer is a super human
There is no such a thing as a designer who doesn't make mistakes. Do mistakes early enough so they can be fixed. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Spend long enough but not too long on your prototypes. You will find the balance yourself — every project is different. Test early, test on the right audience and store results so they are easily accessible to all team members.
It’s essential for a designer in this category to listen, test and iterate. People expect you to give them a good advice. Educate yourself about the company, products and wider context. Your job will be to become a business as well as customer expert. Ask questions and don’t hesitate to ask again if you are not clear.
If you are lucky, there will be business architects and analysts helping you understanding situations you are in. If not, find the responsible people who are able to answer your questions.
Be kind, helpful and respectful. You are part of the team.
If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them in comments below.