Who are your end users?

Over the past several years we have had the opportunity to work with companies of various sizes as they plan and redesign their web presence.

Some began using a CMS for the first time, while others were transitioning from either an open-source system (WP, Drupal, etc.) or some homegrown system to a more robust complete CMS solution (Adobe CQ5, Sitecore, Sharepoint, etc).

We’ve worked with these organizations to help them better understand the mental models of their “End Users” so that together we could design a system that is effective, efficient and satisfying. But who are these “End Users?” One common thread that we’ve noticed is that a majority of these organizations seemed to forget about a number of “end users” by focusing exclusively on the experience of visitors to their sites and their customers.

Don’t get us wrong, we think that it is vital to understand, and design towards the understanding of visitors and customers. We often create personas that help drive that design conversation.

What we are saying is that most of the organizations that we’ve worked with never completely thought about all of the user touch-points they need to consider.

Three of the most commonly ignored were:

  • Content Authors. A majority of companies mostly planned to use the “out of the box” administration tools for creating and modifying their site content. This decision usually resulted in higher training costs, and a longer “time to publish” metric.
  • System Administrators. Ultimately a system needs to be up and running. Understanding the concerns of those involved in the back-end systems operations and including them in the overall architectural design of the system reduces downtime, and increases the productivity of the back end system.
  • Sales Team. Most companies don’t even consider the needs of their sales team when making design decisions. A Majority would typically build the system, and then train their SE’s to use and demo it. In past projects we’ve made major changes to the user interaction design of a large infrastructure system specifically to enable the organizations sales team to be better able to understand, and ultimately sell the product. If your sales team cannot sell the product, it doesn’t really matter that the “end user” experience is awesome.

These are the most commonly forgotten “end users,” as you can imagine each industry has it’s unique set. Understanding and designing with the needs and mental model of all users will significantly increate your ROI and profitability.

Working with a Usability and User Experience team that has experience understanding all of the user touch-points can help. The Usability People have the knowledge; experience and passion for UX that can help your product succeed.

For information about our user research services or to schedule a meeting: