If there’s one thing Claudia Kotcha will tell you about building apps that employees want to use, it’s to think about your employees really want. Kotcha, the former VP of innovation design and strategy at Proctor & Gamble, ought to know — she spent years creating products that millions of actual consumers loved.
One of the traditional problems in IT departments, she explained, is that engineers view themselves as the end-users instead of the real employees who use the products. And like real-world consumers, emotion often trumps cost-effectiveness or what has the most features. Often, they just want stuff that looks nice and that works.
In order to help application developers get it right, she brought in designers to help them see things from a different perspective, what she calls “cognitive diversity.” Her partner on stage, Bernd Christiansen, CTO of Citrix’s Online Services Division, also said that designers are critical. He said companies should make multiple designs to figure out the best products to actually develop.
And if you can’t figure out a way to implement an entire design, just quit, he said. Getting it half right probably won’t cut it, and just ends up being more of the same. It’s worth getting it right. Christiansen explained that he watches employees get work done on their phones walking from the car to the office, only to watch their productivity drop as soon as they get inside.
That’s because companies often force employees to use different technology inside. If IT gives them as close to the consumer experience as possible, they’ll be more productive, he said, because this generation of workers doesn’t care about how technology works. It just wants to put technology to work.