Creating Web Applications People Love to Use

March 28, 2011

On Saturday April 2nd, I’ll be presenting at Product Camp Boston at the Microsoft NERD Center, talking to product managers about how to make their web applications as easy and seamless to use as popular consumer web applications.

Why do you need a love-able app? B2B has gone consumer

As we’ve seen in our work with the publisher Elsevier, there can be resistance within an organization to using a new app if there’s a perception that it’s going to be clunky and unfriendly —and, let’s face it, there are a lot of B2B apps that are just that. Today, B2B users now have higher expectations for web applications, more in line with what they’re seeing in their consumer applications and products, with brands like Apple and Amazon setting a reference point of great quality and functionality.

Solve a Really Hard Problem, Simply

So how do you provide your end-users with an experience that’s more akin to Apple’s than to the typical B2B web application? Lessons from our project for Elsevier provide important insights. We focused on what Apple does right—anticipating consumer and user needs – and developed a system that solves a few key pain points with grace and simplicity. By anticipating end users’ real needs, we provided them with a solution that has only the features they need to get their jobs done.  The result is a highly functional, easy-to-use app that is streamlining the book authoring process.

 

Tips for Making Your Web Application Love-able

Designing great, usable apps is a mindset that requires thinking about apps as a user experience, not just a final product. Some other ways we create apps that your people look forward to using:

  • Focus on the whole experience, not just the core product. The pre-experience and post-experience are important, too. Think of the ways Apple products are presented, making you want to use them, from the store to the box.
  • Think in terms of good customer service to create a positive experience throughout the whole engagement.
  • Create expectation around a product—remember that how people come away feeling about you is what distinguishes an everyday app from one that truly resonates with users.
  • The payoff in providing great apps people can’t wait to use is higher adoption, with a much less steep learning curve.
 
April 2, 2011
8:00 to 4:00
Microsoft NERD Center
1 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA
 

Did you miss ProductCamp this year? Join us on May 5 for a webinar based on this talk. 

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