Given the abundant enterprise software options available today, it can be hard to design a user experience that stands out from the crowd. While uniqueness and individuality are not fundamental requirements of reporting tools and applications, these qualities can help inspire user adoption, make a clearer business case and even elevate the quality of insights. Traditionally, most enterprise software was fairly buttoned-down, even humdrum, as programs were used mainly by a small pool of trained, highly knowledgeable statisticians and data analysts. For these specialists, a no-frills, all-business approach to the user interface and experience can usually suffice.
With the introduction of end users with little to no background in data analysis and business intelligence into the realm of enterprise reporting and analytics, the value of the user interface and experience shifts. While add-ons for the sake of add-ons can diminish the quality of the user experience by just getting in the way, a few targeted adjustments to the interface can go a long way. Keep in mind that C-level personnel also have more direct involvement in enterprise software than they used to, and these decision makers are more likely to respond positively to an app with some pop. Software Development Times contributor Nitin Urdhwareshe recently observed that integrating the "wow" factor can be a challenge, especially for more experienced developers used to prioritizing a dynamic user experience.
"As user experience designers, we get to hear the 'wow' word just about every day. Many times we're asked to improve the WOW! factor or to bring in the missing 'WOW," Urdhwareshe wrote. "One definition for WOW! is that it's a set of properties belonging to an object that pleasantly surprises the user. Having an understanding of user psychology is the initial requirement in order to anticipate and incorporate those features that will pleasantly surprise the user and generate the WOW!"
Reporting tools: Putting a value on 'wow!'
As enterprise software needs grow, more capital and resources are being devoted to application development. This is certainly a step in the right direction for any company that wants to scale up its analytical and business intelligence capabilities, but it also compels business leaders to more closely examine where their dollars are going. According to New Electronics, software development can be hampered by company leaders regarding many tools as too expensive.. No one wants to spend money ineffectively. At the same time, tightening the purse strings too much can prolong time to deployment.
The "wow" factor is often an intangible one. People know it when they see it. Done right, the drivers of the experience meld perfectly with the rest of the application, delivering a seamless product that owns its dynamic prowess without being ostentatious about it. Seamlessly integrating useful bells and whistles on a tight budget can be difficult, particularly for developers more familiar with old school modes of programming. The process generally involves making something intangible a valuable commodity. In order to do that, however, software developers need tangible tools capable of delivering the sort of user interface that gets people excited about and invested in their experience.