User-centered design starts with determining who the end user is and what they do. Consider the user’s role and the tasks they perform within that role. How can a mobile app help that user perform their work? Replacing manual, paper-based processes with real-time mobile transactions can save hours a day for users in any role that requires integrating information into the back office. And with a thorough understanding of user roles, you can adapt the application through role-based features to optimize the experience for your team.
Where and in what conditions the end user works will also have a significant impact on what they need from a mobile app. Whether the end user in question works on the manufacturing shop floor, in the warehouse or in the field will determine the look and function of the app. A field service app used outdoors, for example, may need a simplified interface with large buttons with high contrast. The larger buttons would make for an easier target for gloved fingers, while the contrast would make the app easier to see in direct daylight.
Understanding the user and their work environment helps you make other critical decisions like picking the right device for the job. For instance, a field service technician working from a truck or on a rig would benefit from a ruggedized device, where a salesperson working face-to-face with customers may want a tablet to showcase catalogs and administer customer satisfaction surveys. In the warehouse, someone whose job involves moving boxes and pallets all day may appreciate a hands-free option, such as voice picking.
A user-first approach doesn’t stop with the design of the app. After the app is designed and built, be sure to include end users in testing. Line up some end users to test drive the mobile app to gather their valuable feedback. Allowing end users to put the app to work on the job can help to identify areas for improvement to make it an even more useful tool. And that feedback doesn’t need to stop once the testing period is over. Updates are a critical part of a mobile app’s lifecycle, and give you an opportunity to refine or add functionality that helps make the app an even more integral part of the user’s day-to-day tasks.
In the end, equipping your team with an effective productivity tool is a crucial component of optimizing business processes with mobile technology. When you put your users first, and consider their everyday interactions, you can deliver an intuitive user experience that shortens the learning phase and efficiently moves your new app toward optimizing processes and helping to solve business challenges. Interested in learning more about building the right mobile app for your team? Read more.