Does A Better User Experience Always Win?

user experience words written by 3d handI saw a Tweet from Aaron Levie (@levie ) that said, “Enterprise software used to be about making existing work more efficient. Now, the opportunity for software is to transform the work itself.” Look across multiple industries and you’ll see a continual transformation in the way people experience not only work, but everything. The Internet of Things is not about the things we can connect, but the experiences connected things create for us.

That word “experience” is often used in multiple contexts, such as customer experience, employee experience, and user experience. They’re all interrelated in business; customer experience is built on the back of employee experience, which, in turn, is highly influence by the user experience of the business tools and processes each employee uses.

Experience matters so much that Apple recently promoted Jony Ive to the role of Chief Design Officer ( But does “the experience” always win? Let me throw this out to you. Pictured below are two user experiences that revolutionized the way we interact with technology – both are from Apple. The first is the original Macintosh computer, the second is the original iPhone.

Each of these devices, along with its user experience, was revolutionary and awe-inspiring; spawning a great number of other innovations and markets. But why did one take off and shatter all expectations, while the other grew slowly to become only a small percentage of the overall computer market? The answer is two-fold.

  1. The apps
  2. The timing and context

The Apps: Apple didn’t win the war of the PCs because they didn’t engage the developers to produce applications. In other words, they had a great user experience in which people couldn’t do as much as on another platform. However, with the iPhone, Apple encouraged a large number of developers to produce apps and publish them on the Apple App Store. You could do so much with all the different iPhone apps that soon, “There’s an app for that” became a popular phrase. The fact that you could take more action, married to a very engaging user experience, accelerated the iPhone phenomenon.

Timing and context: Sometimes people aren’t ready for change. In the case of the Mac, there were only a few industries that latched onto it when it first came out, namely creative departments and education. Everyone in business thought the Mac was just a toy because it “looked nice” but it didn’t have “real business” applications. When the iPhone came along, people were comfortable with visual interfaces, there were also smartphones that could do multiple tasks, and people enjoyed their music on their iPods. The iPhone seemed like the natural next step to combine these capabilities into a single, intuitive device. Most changes to experience come through iteration rather than creating a disruptive, completely earth-shattering experience.

It’s the right time to evolve the IT experience for those people who consume IT the most. And this intuitive IT experience — which LANDESK calls Workspaces— gives you the right information, at the right time, in the right context to take action. Creating a new experience for people in your organization is more than giving their processes a pretty interface; it’s about transforming their work with actions integrated with the information they need to stand out in their roles. Give the IT consumer the experience they want from IT so they don’t go somewhere else for their solutions, and then hand it back to IT to manage afterwards.

IT should not only deploy a new user experience to end users, but create a better user experience for IT as well, and that may involve developing the internal skills to create a better user experience. Gartner states the following:

“Rather than being seen as a way to remediate dated user interfaces, user experience design will be recognized as a way to drive adoption rates and mitigate end-user workarounds. Additionally, user experience design processes will be used to identify new systems of innovation allowing enterprise IT departments to become greater contributors to value creation in the organization.” — Predicts 2015: The Digital Workplace Underscores the Benefits of a Consumerized Work Environment  — November 13, 2014 — Cain, Gotta, Prentice, Green, and Poitevin

If you’re interested in why IT should care about user experience, this white paper explores three key reasons. [link to WP ]

In the end, experience does win out – even in the case of the Mac. By integrating the experiences of both the Mac and the iPhone, along with a ubiquitous iCloud environment, the Mac continues to grow in popularity and prominence and Apple continues to dominate in developing innovative user experiences. The same holds true with the intertwined roles of customer experience, employee experience, and user experience. When businesses focus on all three experiences and understand how they interrelate, IT will be called on to develop greater user experience skills and utilize the tools and processes needed to give the entire organization the most engaging experience to drive success.