Optimising UI and UX – The Key to Successful Collaboration

Guest Blog by Lyndsay Cook, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Demand Generation at PGi

Optimising UI and UX – The Key to Successful Collaboration

It may seem evident that the aim of using collaboration tools is to enable excellent communication and information management. Used correctly, the technology also facilitates vital decision-making. Yet, according to The Harvard Business Review, almost 40% of CIOs and IT professionals say their systems make it harder, not easier, for employees to work quickly.

When choosing communications and collaboration technology for business, a key factor is the user experience (UX) it delivers. This includes a well-designed user interface (UI) to enable easy and intuitive collaboration. The UI encompasses all the visual elements used to interact with conferencing platforms – from screens to pages and even buttons and icons.

A poor UI can create communication challenges across an organisation, and the outcome can be a negative UX. All too often this results in frustrated employees, and solutions being unused and abandoned. As a result, collaboration staggers and productivity declines.

The same Harvard report also showed that 38% of CIOs and IT professionals say technology doesn’t allow employees to work and exploit information at speed. A study by the University of North Carolina in The Harvard Business Review revealed that of 82 senior managers across various industries, 71% of them said meetings are unproductive and inefficient. Providers should focus on making these meetings easier by improving the UI of their offerings, and therefore improve UX too.

The Harvard Business Review report also stated that 39% of CIOs and IT professionals have said that technology makes it difficult or time-consuming for employees to access business data and applications without IT help. Even if the conferencing platform does have all the qualities and functionalities that users need, time and effort can be wasted trying to find features such as recording and chat.

The challenge for unified communication and collaboration providers is to understand when, where and why people use conferencing tools at work, and more importantly, which features are must-haves or non-negotiables.

Improving productivity through UI

According to our own research, carried out in conjunction with The GSMA’s Mobile World Live, 44% of people say they prefer to use their smartphones for unified communication and collaboration services; and HighFive reports that 72% of people use their personal mobile device for work reasons. The mobile experience is something IT decision-makers cannot afford to ignore. Technology must be seamless and easy to use, and UI has to be customised for the specific devices that people are using at that moment.

Logging into a virtual meeting on a smartphone should be easy. An effective UI is one that is easy to navigate, has relevant features and behaves in a similar fashion to the apps that users are familiar with. These factors will ensure users have a positive experience with a conferencing platform.

An aesthetically pleasing design brings all the UI components to life. From brand colours to layout, design is the execution of the experience. Usability may get people to want to keep using the product, but it is the pleasure of an attractive visual interface that makes people tell others about it.

The importance of user testing

It is only through ongoing user testing that design and product development teams can improve the design of collaboration tools. With our own tools, such ongoing iterative user testing enables our teams to make small changes until they achieve the required results to ensure a good UX. Techniques such as cadence mapping tells us how usage across different functional areas like chatting or scheduling gels into patterns for the user.

As an example, our testing and research teams discovered that people mainly used their smartphones to log into meetings while in their cars. As a result, they focused on making all UI elements larger and more readable, especially the audio control buttons. By creating an easily accessible, simplified three-tab design, users can quickly tap the functions they need. The text and interface re-design also benefitted stationary users, as they too typically do not hold their phones while in a meeting; the device is usually on a table.

By improving the UI, UX will be enhanced as a result. The adoption of the tool will increase, which will in turn provide a positive ROI. Collaboration tools must be easily navigable, relevant and aesthetically pleasing, and when aligned with the behaviours and preferences of teams, employee engagement and productivity increases. This in turn saves time and drives up productivity overall.

Guest Blog by Lyndsay Cook, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Demand Generation at PGi

Established in 1991, PGi began with a simple goal: Empower people and businesses to connect and collaborate. Throughout our 27-year history, PGi has met the changing technology landscape to bring enterprises around the world easy-to-use and effective collaboration and communication solutions.

 

Latest comments

1 Comment
Rajesh N 12:34, 28 Nov 2018

Sounds good! The main goal of improving the UI, UX is to get visitors to spend more time on website by clicking and moving to pages they like and make them to visit it again. I’ve really enjoyed reading this article particularly the explanations about improving productivity through UI and the importance of user testing.

Best Regards
RajeshN, Nous Infosystems

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