In my last blog, I introduced Cisco IT’s Playbook for Ensuring a Pervasive User Experience. We consider user experience (UX) a strategic priority that requires cultural change. The playbook is our guide for ensuring that this priority becomes part of our DNA. Each chapter of the playbook lays out ways that we can improve UX, and make it a pervasive, positive experience for users across the company.

We start by understanding the relationship people have with technology: how our services are consumed by specific business groups. That’s chapter 1 of the playbook. Chapter 2 is about delivering a consistent experience across our services. At this stage, we get into understanding how people interact with technology and start creating a framework to embed user experience in our operating model.

Here’s where we introduce the role of the User Experience Prime. These are people who intrinsically know users and their relationship with technology and are passionate about UX. The Primes interact with users as they consume our IT services and bring their input back to the services teams. Today, we have more than 50 Primes, and the number is growing to ensure complete coverage across all IT services.

Visualization comes into play, where we really begin the design of the experience. To avoid common pitfalls, we keep in mind tried-and-true UX design principles. While not a complete list, here are some of those principles:

  • Design for the target employee, not for yourself. Learn as much as you can about the user. An IT employee doesn’t know what a sales executive’s day is like, for example.
  • Question processes and policies. Instead of trying to make your users jump through hoops, get rid of the hoops. Simplify the process whenever possible.
  • Ensure simple navigation while maintaining clarity. Make it easy for users to find the next step in the flow.
  • Justify every pixel on the screen. Reduce distractions so users can focus on their primary task.
  • Provide useful error messages. Tell users what has gone wrong, and more importantly, how they can fix it. Well thought-out errors will reduce support costs.

Performance is a critical UX metric. We analyze all services and evaluate the standard global performance versus optimal global performance for each one. For example, we need to consider latency and how we manage or can control it, because it might affect the service delivery experience in remote locations.

It’s very important to understand a service from the standpoint of technology, process, and geographic location (where the service is consumed) to ensure optimal provisioning and delivery for the best possible user experience.

In my next blog, I’ll talk about chapter 3 of the playbook: content, search, and next-generation collaboration.