Every facet of enterprise IT needs a strong user interface, as success in the modern business world requires organizations to quickly react and respond to changes within and external to their operations. From the upper echelons of the tech department down to the customer-facing applications that fuel service and sales, users need to be comfortable with their applications and develop mastery of these tools as a part of their roles.
For digital signage strategists, an intuitive user experience is particularly important, especially now that these software systems are gaining more expansive and involved features. Here's a look at several characteristics of a stellar application interface that all companies should remember as they leverage and refine their digital signage software deployments.
1. Simplicity above all else: In the world of enterprise applications, complexity is the enemy of productivity, and it's nearly always better to deliver a simple, streamlined tool than to overwhelm users with bottomless feature sets. Since most digital signage users are familiar with the basic capabilities of a software system, it's safe to assume that they can handle a more robust application, but decision-makers should be conscious of user demands and preferences before they pull the trigger on an investment.
Close management of these applications is also necessary to ensure that they retain their value and stay aligned with marketing and advertising goals.
"Complexity grows over time," said Bryson Koehler, chief information and technology officer of The Weather Company in Atlanta, according to Computerworld. "We can handle complexity if it's logical. If you ask someone new to watch data flow through your environment, will it make sense to them? It can be complex, but if it's logical, that's OK."
2. Consumer-style service: The consumerization of enterprise technology is a monumental trend, affecting every industry and facet of IT. According to an article from Forbes, IDG Enterprise defines the phenomenon as "the propensity for users' experiences with technology as consumers to impact their expectations regarding their technology experiences at work." Just as they enjoy top-tier technology in their personal lives, employees expect the IT department at work to deliver a seamless and convenient experience in each aspect of their daily roles.
In the context of digital signage, this translates to hands-on network configuration, self-service capabilities for content development and scheduling, as well as industry-specific features that fit the unique demands of sectors such as fast casual restaurants or educational institutions. With more vendors embracing this consumer-oriented mentality, brands should have no trouble finding digital signage software that fills these criteria and delivers a user-centric experience.
"An intuitive user experience is critically important."
3. Anywhere, anytime access: A more substantial portion of the American workforce is operating remotely than ever before, and it won't be long before personal devices and hosted software services make this level of flexibility a standard part of enterprise culture. In fact, according to Forbes, 82 percent of organizations have developed mobile strategies to keep employees productive at home and on the road. This goes hand-in-hand with consumerization trends, which focus on the use of personal devices to access workplace applications and data.
For signage software users, a SaaS-based system is the best possible choice from a remote availability standpoint, offering employees the opportunity to develop and manage content campaigns from any conceivable device and location. Thanks to a cloud-hosted delivery model, applications retain their functionality across platforms and can be accessed by anyone with the proper authorization. This ensures that signage strategies remain fresh and on-target no matter when or where end users need to control their deployments.