>Universal enterprise UX – Part 1 (Concept)

>(Originally posted 6 November 2008).

From a UX perspective, portals are a great way of centralising; personalising and publishing the various functions that a user needs to undertake operationally. They are ideal for combining both structured and unstructured data and contextualising between the two. We’re all essentially information workers and users do similar information-centric operations during their day e.g. browsing, analysing, contextualising, starting new events (based upon old events) and data entry. There should be the same UX available for them to do these actions. Not just a similar portal but the same (configurable) web parts.

Where are these gadgets? SAP has a clear concept of UX reuse that plays partly in this space but where are they for other platforms? There are a finite dozen or so UX interactions (Find, Alert, Link, Flag, Copy, Browse, Cascade, CRUD, Audit, Confirm, Search and Analyse) that can be mapped to six or less web parts. Two of these web parts would account for most UX interactions i.e. Web part 1 (Find, Alert, Link, Flag and Copy) and Web part 2 (Browse and Cascade). Web part 1 would mainly deal with lists and Web part 2 would mainly deal with hierarchies.

These could be mix and matched with social networking and content management web parts. That’s just six or so interrelated web parts that could handle the majority of bespoke operational applications today. For example, an order processing system user would be able to search for a particular user, see all their past orders (and correspondence), analyse their propensity to cross/up-sell and take or query their order and flag particular customers for a follow-up call. When the IT department roll-on new functions e.g. recording user feedback at POS, users will know how they work as the web parts would behave the same as existing functions. For the back office, ongoing development, training and testing of incremental functionality would be reduced. MOSS is already treated seriously as an application development platform (http://www.andrewconnell.com/blog/archive/2007/09/24/6116.aspx) as it handles the plumbing every application needs. Some organisations have worked on solutions where they have deployed a similar concept for customers (reusing the same web parts each time) but this approach only really pays dividends with incremental development or new solutions that use the same UX web parts. Why is the universal enterprise UX not more prevalent (?).

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