Define the Customers’ Workflow and Users’ Tasks

To design user experiences that are easy to use for your customers and users, become familiar with the customers’ workflows and the users’ tasks. When conducting your research, establish a list of users by companies, departments, and roles. The company contact is usually the “customer” and the department contact is usually a manager. In enterprise software, there are customers that purchase the solution, users who use the system and, usually, managers who work for the customer and manage the users.

Tip: Include the managers in your research. Often the managers are also a user—usually using the application for operational reports. The managers have insight into their employees’ tasks, like which positions are changing roles/tasks or being eliminated. Your solution is most likely going to change or eliminate their roles—this is not something you want to discuss with the user but should discuss with the managers. Sometimes it is the manager’s role that changes. In this case, you need to work with the appropriate level of management at the customers’ company to ensure this understanding.

Survey, interview, and observe the customers and users using their current solution. Develop diagrams of the various customers’ workflows and note where they are similar and different. Group your customer and user types by similar roles, and create personas—archetypes that synthesize their skills, patterns, and goals to better understand their needs.

This blog series is based on the article Easy to Use for Whom: Defining the Customer and User Experience for Enterprise Software