A note on simplicity…
“Good design is as little design as possible” – Dieter Rams
The travel world is complex. The corporate travel world is even more so due to layers of policy, bureaucracy, myriad of content providers and constraints of legacy systems. Keeping user-centred corporate travel products simple is extraordinarily complicated, so staying focused on the user and their needs is imperative. With this in mind, it is critical that UX designers and developers in the travel industry ensure that complexity doesn’t become the burden of our clients and end users.
UX or “user experience design” is still a relatively new term and still in its infancy, particularly in the corporate world. So, it is important to define exactly what we mean when we talk about user experience. What we’re referring to is simply how humans interact with a product – online, or in the physical world.
As a consumer, you encounter designed user experiences every day and everywhere. On a surface level, everything from the way you interact with a piece of software to the location of a door handle and how it is shaped – ever pushed a pull door? – are examples of elements that contribute to UX. The sum of your interactions with a product becomes the experience that you have when you use that product. The thing about user experiences is that every product has one, whether it’s been intentionally designed or not. It’s the intent that comes with aligning the product with the user’s needs, tasks to be done and behaviour that makes the difference. This is where CTM’s UX and development team come in.
Many enterprise technology producers fall into the trap of thinking that throwing every feature, bell and whistle into a product will result in a better product. This is simply not the case. In fact, many employees continue to report an unsatisfactory user experience with their companies’ internal systems, which are often designed only with functionality in mind.
“I can’t wait to get to work to fill out this huge form” – nobody ever.
So why should companies care about providing their staff with products that put emphasis on delivering a great user experience?
Benefits of good UX within your travel program
The benefits of deploying well designed and considered products within your organisation are vast, but to enhance your experience of this article I’ve narrowed it down to three.
1. Productive and happy employees
Your employees are hired to do a job. They’re hired to make sales, to manage teams, to build skyscrapers or whatever else it might be. Would you rather they spend their time doing those things or would you rather they spent their time going through convoluted and time-consuming processes filling out long arduous forms using clunky old software?
Your company only benefits from applications when the user is successful in using them and that success comes from intuitive design that anticipates user needs. Mandating usage of a product is simply not enough. If a process or product is too difficult, users will always find a way around it. Foreseeing these needs involves consulting the people using the product to understand their challenges, frustrations, goals and motivations. The more those designing and building the product understand about the end user, the better and more efficiently they can design a product to help the user get their job done.
2. Severely reduced implementation costs
“A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.”
Imagine a world for a moment where before you were able to start using Google or Uber or Facebook or the like you needed to read a 30-page manual, sit through a webinar and complete a series of competency assessments…
Unfortunately, this is the reality for many enterprise applications.
No-one these days needs a “Google for Dummies” guide, so why should enterprise software be any different?
Companies can often spend weeks or even months training their staff on how to use a piece of software they’ve mandated, racking up huge costs and lost efficiencies in the process. Implementing applications in your business that users can jump in and start using immediately results in huge savings in ongoing training, implementation and support costs, delivering a huge boost to a company’s return on investment.
3. Greater adherence to policy and traveller safety
The easier and more enjoyable an application is to use, the more people will use it. It’s that simple. With policy configurations natively baked in to our products coupled with a great user experience, policy is more easily controlled as users are more likely to stay within the confines of the products you’ve implemented. For the business, this drives cost savings and data transparency which can be used when negotiating with suppliers or to optimise your policy. It also helps meet your duty of care obligations as traveller itinerary data is kept visible within the system.
Delivering a great user experience underpins every product CTM builds. Our team of UX designers and developers work not only with clients but directly with their users. This ensures we’re delivering software that not only meets their business needs, but they also look forward to using.
So, next time you’re considering implementing new travel technology within your organisation, look beyond just ticking functional boxes on paper. Consider the impact on the end-user’s experience as this will have a huge impact on your long-term return on investment.
Author: Nicholas Griffiths, CTM’s UX Lead Designer
Contact CTM today to find out how we can help drive engagement and compliance within your corporate travel program:
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