UI asks am I pretty? UX asks am I practical?
It’s easy to confuse user interface (UI) with user experience (UX). Although both concern the user and are important to a product’s success, they are, in fact, different sides of the same coin. UI may make for good UX but having good UX as the goal keeps UI on track. UI is how the digital experience looks and how the user is asked to interact with it. UX is all about how the user feels when using the product and how that feeling impacts future use. The best way to define good user experience is to understand what makes a bad user experience.
Bad UX with customer-facing apps and websites hurt your brand - you know this. Slow speeds, clunky design, and info fatigue can alienate your customers. But your user experience concerns shouldn’t be limited to how well the product search function works on your website or if your app has an easy checkout process. Your employees can also be turned off by negative user experience - remember they too are savvy consumers once they leave the office. The same best practices for the external user experience, which make for excellent customer service, strong engagement and retention, need to be applied internally to enhance workplace culture.
Good UX for enterprise technology is the same as good UX in consumer technology: it never forgets the user, empathizing with and advocating for their needs. A successful user experience recognizes pain points before they hurt and doesn’t try to complicate things by reinventing the wheel. It’s efficient, intuitive and, like breathing, invisible. Strategy+Business has laid out a targeted list of questions you ask yourself about enterprise systems that address everything from the smoothness of the ‘previous page’ function to syntax consistency throughout the written content. One question, however, gets to the heart of the user experience: When engaging with the product: Do they smile and look relaxed?
Your team is more likely to use intranet software that doesn’t make their job harder. Good UX improves productivity by ensuring successful adoption of the proper tools and easier navigation of those tools once they are in place. The user experience also impacts the enterprise setting when it comes to employee engagement by guaranteeing a satisfying self-service portal. For example, if your people are able to efficiently use your intranet for their HR concerns they’re not wasting their co-worker’s time by asking them questions or requesting incorrect forms. Additionally, good user experience impacts your employees' perception of how innovative your company is and how far it will go to support your workers by investing in the right tools.
Download our Flight Centre case study to see why they won Nielsen Norman's Best Intranet Design 2019.
UX and internal comms
Workers born after 1996 were babies when AOL brought dial-up to the masses. They were teens when Facebook reached 1 billion users and are perplexed when faced with a TV guide because they live in an on-demand reality. Because this generation was raised on the internet they have a set standard for digital communication and online interactions. These expectations aren’t limited to their personal lives. They want to see these qualities mirrored in their workplace culture. If your enterprise tech offers these digital experts an unsatisfying user experience, they may seek greener pastures where they feel well equipped and engaged by their company. When it comes to your ROI, it's cheaper to keep ‘em so getting your enterprise digital experiences right, matters.
As we have already discussed, personalized and customized internal communication is the key to the employee engagement needed to make your business a success. With the growth of knowledge-based jobs and tech-savvy millennials being the largest (and growing) generation of the workforce, the user experience for your internal communication platform needs to, at the very least, match the expectations set forth by social media platforms and digital advertising. Functions that fall short of expectations, byzantine navigation or simply tools that simply don’t work sour the user experience.
Tips for achieving a flawless user experience for your internal comms
#1. Get direct feedback
One of the first things to get right is to keep an open line of communication with your employees about how your internal comms are connecting (or not) with them. Ask them what changes would make their job easier, what’s missing from their user experience and what’s bogging them down. No use in cluttering a portal dashboard with new tools if they aren't needed and not wanted. Check out our new forms feature to see how this process could be made easy.
#2. Branding consistency inside and out
For a familiar and cohesive feel and to strengthen employee engagement, make internal branding part of your employees' user experience. Internal marketing to your people has as much to do with the success of your product as your external marketing to your customers. With your internal comms, you can ensure that every member of your team is an enthusiastic brand ambassador that not only knows how to talk about your product but can’t wait to. A solid branded UX for your internal comms isn’t limited to customer service. A workplace culture rooted in your company values will help attract the right talent, streamline training and ensure all levels of operation adhere to your brand’s mission.
#3. Take Inspiration from Consumer Tech
A positive UX for internal comms that mirrors your employees UX for social media will increase their productivity. By making usability a primary goal for your intranet, your employees can do more in less time because you have eliminated the classic pitfalls of bad UX. They can find the info they need with a few clicks because the navigation is simple and clean. All dashboard tools are necessary and function and expected. The UI is consistent and the brand messaging is clear.
Is your intranet UX holding you back?
Positive user experience is key to the success of your internal comms: discover how to drive engagement with your digital workplace platform by reaching out to one of our UX experts today.
Not ready for a conversation? Try downloading this guide for a collection of inspiring digital workplace designs sure to get your users engaged.