Meta Refresh 2014

On the construction of user interface on the web

Employee-First Design

Submitted by Ramesh Sundararaman (@ramsun) on Friday, 8 November 2013

Section: Crisp talk Technical level: Beginner

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Poorly-designed enterprise mobility apps cause embarrassment and irrepairable harm to employees, especially when they try to use in the presence of their customers.

In this talk, I intend to provide details about "employee first" design approach - which could potentially help mobile app developers and enterprise IT staff achieve success in the development, deployment of enterprise mobility applications.


With increasing adoption of cloud by enterprises, employees have access to not just emails but all of the enterprise data and apps from outside the 4 walls of the enterprise. Now with the widespread availability of mobile devices across different
form-factors and price-points, enterprise mobility can soon become a reality even at SMBs.

However, care should be exercised while designing mobility applications for employees. Poor mobility experience has the potential to break not just the individual employee's usage, but also of all employees & systems involved in the
process flow. Given the limited audience within enterprise for each app, it is essential to have 100% employee adoption to realize returns.

Quoting real-world examples, I will share how it helps to rethink our design approach - from a "mobile first" to an "employee first".

Speaker bio

During my 16+ years of experience working in the wireless industry, I have been involved with UX research, design and launch of mobility solutions targeted at both consumers and enterprises - key among them being MotoFone F3 mobile phone, FR6X mobile computer and associated field-mobility applications.

I have worked with leading enterprises on their mobility strategy, conducted mobility design studies and successfully deployed native, mobile-web apps on their WinMob/Android platforms.


  • 2
    Kiran Jonnalagadda (@jace) Reviewer 5 years ago

    From my limited experience with enterprise apps, the reason most of them are so badly done is that (a) the employee is not the paying customer and so their opinion doesn’t count in the planning stage, and (b) given the limited number of users, development is done by a skeletal team, usually just a developer and a manager, so there is no design input at all.

    Given that bad UI is a result of economic factors rather than intent, can we fix this with anything other than a change in the economic structure of how enterprise apps are developed?

    Enterprise UI appears to follow codified trends in consumer UI (Web 2.0, mobile first) with a lag of years, and I’m not sure merely codifying the next trend helps reduce the lag.

  • 1
    Lereinre Kilstein (@lereinre) a month ago

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  • 1
    pinal shah (@pinalshah) 11 days ago

    Thanks for picking out the time to discuss this, I feel great about it and love studying more on this topic. It is extremely helpful for me. Thanks for such a valuable help again.

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