Why Design for Business Tools?

Jamie Tseng
Nov 1, 2018 · 6 min read
Photo Credit: Vector Goddess/Shutterstock.com

When I introduce myself as a product designer at Facebook, most people picture our well-known consumer interfaces.

In fact, I work on enterprise design — that is, design for our business products, not our consumer-facing ones. Cue the quizzical faces and wary comprehension. It seems that for some reason, design for business tools is still often thought of as less than. Let me assure you that nothing could be further from the truth — especially at Facebook.

Driven by positive impact

  1. Create clean designs out of complex interfaces and problems.
  2. Challenge the notion that business products are clunky, outdated or provide a poor user experience.
  3. Design for niche—but, very engaged—audiences.

Enter enterprise design

Good design is good design

The more I work on enterprise products, the more I am convinced that the distinction is in our heads. If we design for people, we build great products. In fact, we could — and should — extend this out from designing for enterprise and consumer to hardware, augmented reality, virtual reality and more. Isn’t it all just design?

To me, context, form and function will vary, but design principles remain the same.

Designing recruiting products with impact

When your users are your colleagues

I remember a conversation with a technology partner who said, “There’s no limit to feedback and no room to look the other way. It’s direct and constant, but you can learn fast as hell.”

I see our peers’ feedback as our strength. Since our users are our co-workers, we can reach out to them directly and dig deeper to understand their needs and concerns better. In fact, I can sketch design options early in the day and receive ample input about how it could serve our people within hours. Sometimes I can pose a question to a specific group and within minutes have an answer that will inform my designs.

We get so much amazing feedback that designing for business tools has given me the opportunity to hone and flex my prioritization muscles. We cannot respond or react to everything, so it’s up to us to prioritize design features using our product sense. When we get it right, we get to hear, directly, how we’ve made people’s lives just a little bit better through our products, and it’s thrilling.

I never understood those who think designing for enterprise products is somehow a lesser challenge, and I definitely don’t now that I work on them every day. For me, designing for utility, productivity and necessity, allows me to solve hard problems, simplify complex processes, and have a positive impact on some of my favorite people: my colleagues.

Facebook Design: Business Tools

Stories from like-minded product designers, UX researchers…

Facebook Design: Business Tools

Stories from like-minded product designers, user experience researchers, and content designers who are passionate about improving the world through the creation of well-crafted business tools.

Jamie Tseng

Written by

Product Designer @Facebook. Interested in all things human perception, cognition and techie related.

Facebook Design: Business Tools

Stories from like-minded product designers, user experience researchers, and content designers who are passionate about improving the world through the creation of well-crafted business tools.

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