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In Enhance Your Business Process Productivity by Enhancing User Productivity. [Part 1] we discussed the importance of User Productivity enhancements and key failure reasons which in turns hits the overall business process productivity. We also did analysis to prove how “User Productivity Flyovers” can resolve some of hard hitting issues.

With continued emphasis on user productivity enhancements, in this blog I will describe, the second-in-row, concept of “User Experience Sessions”.

User experience session helps earn complete user acceptance, which in turn keeps them motivated to productively use the implemented business process and get the best value for the IT and business owners.

image User Acceptance

Let’s break this in logical parts to better understand and connect them again later to realize the benefits.

User Experience Sessions = User (Usability!)  + Experience (What user needs?) + Sessions (How achieve it?)

 

1)    User (Usability!):

“Usability is the measure of the quality of the user experience when interacting with something-whether a Web site, a traditional software application or any other device the user can operate in some way or another.”- Jakob Nielsen

Usability According to ISO 9241-11:1998:

“The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.”

 

2)    (User) Experience (What user needs?):

  • Simple dialogue
  • Less is more
  • Get help from a graphic designer
  • Group related elements together
  • Establish a reading pattern
  • Speaks the users’ language
  • Maps to users’ mental model
  • Minimizes memory load
  • Consistency of screen design, task, structure, wording
  • Provides feedback and good error messages
  • Prevents errors
  • Provides help and documentation

3)    (User Experience) Sessions: How achieve it?

Enhanced user experience can be achieved by effective planning and holding preventive and conclusive user experience sessions. Setting up goals, expectation and target for these sessions governs the success of this activity. Below is a concise list of how to achieve high usability.

      Analyze user needs

  • Study current system UI

          Before you can build an effective UI you must know what users are currently using, what you plan for them to use in future should not be looked upon as if it have came from an alien world. Aligning what they have now and what they will have in future is one of the most important tasks for user interface design.

  • Survey to find UI pain points

          Let users speak for their pain points; send out a survey before meeting users this will help you find things what user like and things they are struggling with.

  • Collect and consolidate end users suggestion into solutions

          After when users are spoken via your survey, design a solution which will be your agenda for user experience sessions

 

     Gain User Acceptance before design, rather struggle after Go Live

          User acceptance for UI and business processes design should not be awaited till User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Most of the time UAT is very short and close to go-live, leaving user, business and IT with no choice but to live with the unproductive system resulting in overall low productivity. All design decisions and user needs must be addressed before the actual development. Next bullet explains how this can be accomplished.

 

     Design UI mockups ensuring high user productivity

  • Develop UI mockups as per user inputs

          Instead of spread sheet design, develop UI mockups using available tools and technologies, these mockups will better help users visualize the final running solution.

  • Review UI mockups with users

          Use the navigational mockup method to review the developed mockups. Idea should be to drive users be participate in discussion why

  • Deliver final design document to development team

          After when the user needs are defined using mock-ups and user acceptance is gained after iterations, next important step is to document the design and deliver to the development team. Most of the time, it’s this step which if not handled carefully can bring surprises to everybody. Development team will deliver what they been asked for, it’s the job of the UI architect to make sure that user words are communicated to development team in entirety. Also development team must understand that their assumptions and decision based on previous client engagement may not cater their current client needs.

 

     Ensure quick /smooth training and transition

  • Training document for end users

          Easy to follow training document is the bonus to end user productivity. Along with pictures and step-by-step instructions, user training document must also have trouble shooting instructions. Before delivering the training documents to end user, business owner must run the steps exactly the way they are documented. This will show fallouts of training documents and will also give an opportunity to refine them as much as possible.

 

I hope, after reading this blog, all of us agrees to the fact that, user acceptance is the key to high user productivity which in turn is the key for high overall business productivity.

Please visit the User Productivity page on SDN where you can also find information on SAP NetWeaver User Productivity Infrastructure and learn more interesting fact about achieving user acceptance.

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2 Comments

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  1. Simon Kemp
    Thanks for your Blog, you make some very good points. One thing I wanted to ask was how to deal with getting time and money to improve usability? I know it is very important for pubic sites where users have a choice to go elsewhere, but for internal systems users tend not to have much choice the business is more reluctant to spend time and money on user experience.

    Also I think it is worth pointing out that users resist change, it is just human nature. So don’t always be led by the users, sometimes there is good reasons to go with what is best even if the users initally doesn’t like the change 🙂

    BRgds,
    Simon

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    1. Mohid Khan Post author
      Simon,
      Those are some real good queries you put in.
      1)     The best time to trigger the discussion to buy money and time for UI improvements especially for an internal application is when the business case is assembled for this internal application. Always these business case comes with promise of process improvements, reduction in headcount and benefits to organization and end users. A protocol should be put in place to challenge the business case and ask how they will achieve what promised without improving the user productivity. This will being the importance of user productivity and user acceptance and can very easily bring the justification of adding time and material in overall budget.
      2)     Second point of user doesn’t want change is true and the reason is that most of the time they are forced to take the change without proper training and awareness, the user acceptance session which I describe in my blogs alleviate that issue by having users participating in design the changed process. It also make it easy for users as the change will evolve within the user community instead of change coming up as a surprise.
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