How to create a great UX design for enterprise applications

November 25, 2024
12 minutes read
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Enterprise UX design is distinct from consumer UX and brings a new set of challenges to the table for businesses. There can often be a disconnect between users and buyers, and the information presented is often more complex. Therefore, your enterprise UX solution must be designed for efficient operations while ensuring end users can understand the workflow provided to them.

Big corporations have applications that assist with day-to-day operations. These solutions are built to help employees complete their tasks easier. Instances of internal solutions becoming an issue is a problem we often hear about, so why do they occur, and what can your enterprise do to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly each day?

The problems arise most from poor enterprise UX design. When your business has an issue with internal operations, it can cause lag across all teams. When there is a lag, you fall behind the competition, and we all know the issue of being behind the competition.

The underlying question at hand now shifts from "what can my business do to continue to function smoothly?" To "what benefits do professional UX design afford my business?"

In this blog post, we are outlining what UX enterprise design is, how it is unique, the challenges it presents, and what to consider before and while designing for enterprises.

What is UX design for an enterprise product?

Enterprise UX design is the process of designing enterprise products. Rather than building a UX for customers, it is built with employees in mind. These users have specific needs, so enterprise solutions must be tailored for different user roles within your organization. Such examples of enterprise design might include:

  • HR Management systems
  • Intranets
  • Enterprise resource planning systems
  • Customer relationship management systems

Enterprise UI design is crucial for businesses because it directly affects your employee output. When you provide your workers with the tools needed to succeed, you will see an increase in productivity and efficiency. Great UX enterprise design will set the groundwork for good business practices across your organization.

Why should you invest in the enterprise user experience?

Most businesses will focus on functionality rather than usability for enterprise software. However, there are multiple benefits and advantages to placing importance on UX design for enterprises. Firstly, they consider your employee user behavior, and these are incorporated into the system that's designed for your corporation.

When the end users' behaviors are considered, you will increase productivity. Your employees use enterprise software for the majority of their day, which, in most cases, means 8-10 hours. When you redesign a system for easier workflows, employees will perform better and get more done. They do this by intuitively completing tasks, and it saves time.

Next, they will more easily understand how to approach a task. Including data visualization in your UX design makes your system's information-rich and easier to understand. Users can quickly gather information to inform their decisions and improve their processes.

Lastly, you can improve internal employee interactions. When working as a team, there is nothing more important than interactions among teammates. In the present day, many people are working as hybrid teams. Some team members are working from home, while others are working in your office. You need to enhance communication between these two workers, and the best approach is to build cooperative team tools into your software. Enterprise UX design can enhance your workflows by providing internal communication features like instant messaging that is commonly offered to customer-facing software.

Let's compare enterprise and consumer-facing software to understand the differences between them fully.

How are consumer and enterprise apps alike and different for UI design?

When it comes to designing enterprise software, think of enterprise and consumer UX as two branches on the same tree. We have experience with both and their ideation and execution. UX design for enterprise apps has different user needs which makes enterprise UX more difficult compared to consumer facing visual design.

What is consumer UX?

Consumer UX is designed for your customers to complete a specific task. They are simple and offer singular functionality, such as making a purchase or reaching out to a customer service representative. The user determines the roles your user takes and the actions they complete. The design of these systems tends to be simpler, and users have freedom within the app to do as they please and perform multiple functions that lead to a singular task workflow. Efficiency is important, but you will also want the user to have the freedom to move around the app freely. There is less data to handle and fewer, less stringent requirements for security.

How is enterprise user experience design unique?

Compared to consumer UX, enterprise UX is much more robust. These are designed with business functions in mind. Therefore, there are more complex workflow processes and job functions inside the UI. Customers and employees will need different levels of functionality. The enterprise UX is often programmed by admins rather than users, providing differing levels of access to features based on the worker's role in your organization. As a result, users have no choice in the functionality of the application they are using. Efficiency is much more important as it powers your organization and ensures users have all the tools they need to complete their daily tasks. There are also tighter security requirements as your program will deal with more data, a larger scope, and will need to scale.

It's important to note that the line between these two types of UX is becoming blurred daily. More consumers expect applications and interfaces that afford them the option to modify and view more complex data resources. Similarly, workers today are much more demanding than 50 years ago and are unwilling to put up with bad UX.

What are the specific challenges of designing an enterprise UX strategy?

Often, businesses spend more time and money on customer-facing UX. Many corporations have internal issues that need to be addressed, and UX can be the answer to their productivity and efficiency drawbacks.

Let's outline each of the issues that designers face when working on enterprise UX.

Difficulty in the UX research phase for design and usability

Enterprise solutions can be more difficult to research. When a business decides to purchase software, the stakeholders and representatives of the business approach UX with a different mindset than the end users. It creates a disconnect between what can be done and how people will do it. Designers need to conduct specific research about employees, business needs, and workers to understand how to balance the needs of the business and the users of the software.

When conducting research, a common issue designers face is understanding the needs of the end-users (workers). Many times, they know what needs to be done but aren't sure of the tools and processes they need to be built into the software to achieve these results quickly.

Information density issues in the design process

Enterprises need software that are much more data-rich when compared to consumer-facing UX applications. In enterprise settings, screens can be packed, which leads to higher cognitive loads for users. Hiding unnecessary information seems like an obvious solution, but often, workers need access to everything presented in order to complete their jobs. If you hide such information, employees may not have access to all the information needed, or it may lead to confusion, impeding their functionality as employees. The challenge for the designer is creating an interface that will lower cognitive load and still give users all the information they require.

Customer UX is easier to test

Enterprise solutions are fully tailored to the business that will use them. So, it is often difficult to find testers for the software when trying to create a good UX. When it comes to the end user, the difficulty is amplified as no one user will have access to every function of the software being designed. Similarly, testing can be time-consuming, and finding people with time in the schedule can be difficult as designers do not want to interrupt your workflows.

Differences in opinion for product design

There are multiple people involved when designing UX for enterprises. These power dynamics can lead to conflicts in opinion when designing new software or revamping older software. Sometimes, stakeholders with the most power may see a solution as the best when, in reality, a different solution could provide more functionality. The most powerful stakeholder usually wins and has the last say, and end users may end up with irrelevant solutions that do not meet their needs.

Merging legacy systems for workflow

Often, enterprise systems can be the result of two older systems being merged into one super system. Usually, this occurs when two businesses join forces. It's not a simple task to consolidate two systems into one. The process is time-consuming and can be very complex. Starting with a new system from scratch is usually impossible as older systems have the necessary functionality that must be poured into the newest systems. Instead, the new systems must be mapped and modified, and the older functionality must be incorporated.

With an experienced design team, these problems can become much simpler. We know the approaches that make these hurdles easier to overcome. A good design team can offer solutions to these concerns during your UX redesign process and reduce your cognitive load when making vital decisions that will affect your business later.

How to get the best experience from enterprise design system UX

A design system is a library of components your design team and users will have access to, which makes completing certain tasks within your organization simpler and easier. These systems include:

  • Patterns
  • Tables
  • Objects
  • Forms
  • Icons

Having such a system means you do not need to build a library from scratch. When designing an enterprise UX, having a library is important because you will want to scale your business. The library reduces time and confusion among your entire organization and across teams.

A good system will:

  • Lead to faster results
  • Create consistent designs
  • Enable smoother designer-to-developer handoffs
  • Make iteration easier
  • Lead to faster updates

Your team will not need to spend extra time communicating or looking for new resources. Instead, everyone knows where to find the items they need for a task. Can you imagine how quickly your entire organization can update software if everyone knows where the components needed are?

The 5 E's of user understanding in the context of good enterprise UX

Whitney Quesenbery created the 5 E's of user understanding. These outline what needs to be met for a system to have a design that benefits users.

The 5 E's are:

  • Effective
  • Efficient
  • Engaging
  • Error tolerant
  • Easy to learn

Each of these dictates how a UX should be designed so the end user can quickly and efficiently use it to reach their goals. Each of these can be applied to enterprise UX design.

When you adhere to the 5 E's when creating a UX for enterprise applications, you can ensure that your employees can produce quality work. So, how can you ensure these are met after the design and implementation of a new system with an updated interface?

Create documentation for best practices

Multiple people across various teams use enterprise applications. So everyone can understand how to use the new software, you can create documentation that outlines how to use the software and answers common questions most users would have. It guarantees that all employees have access to documents that address issues that may arise. In turn, there will be fewer questions among teams, and it will stop your manager's time being spent answering questions that can be found in the documentation you provide.

The more complex your application, the more time you should spend creating documentation. Naturally, if you have more complex features, you will need to explain them in more detail, which could lead to increased time when creating the user documentation. But it's a great way to ensure that stakeholders and employees see the immediate value of the new updates.

Keep everything consistent

Several teams across multiple regions or countries can cause difficulties for enterprises. Inconsistency in design and functionality are common issues that arise within enterprises. Adopting a business-wide design system can reduce such issues by keeping everything consistent across all teams and offices in all locations.

Follow enterprise processes

Enterprises must follow processes. It could be a legal requirement for privacy and security, or it could depend on your business's growth. Adhering to sensitive processes is streamlined with a design system. When creating an enterprise UX, designers must ensure that the new UX is set up so that any user can follow your business processes without issue.

Easy to understand

Efficiency is often a concern for enterprises when looking for US design solutions. Often, to achieve maximum efficiency, businesses will trade efficiency for simplicity. For instance, a business may opt for abbreviations rather than labels on buttons. The UI will feel less compact by providing more screen space to users, but conversely, users will need to learn all the abbreviations and remember them by heart. It increases the learning curve of the product.

You can combat the learning curve by helping employees as they learn to navigate your new system. You can give them a tour of new features and information or use interactive guides.

Don't limit designer creativity

Designers often have to reduce their creativity when designing enterprise applications. Usually, enterprise solutions need to adhere to specific visuals and functionality. It's not uncommon for enterprises to shoot down new innovative features. From a design perspective, it can be challenging to understand user requirements and feedback gathering when new ideas are shot down. It limits the creative approach your business can benefit from when working with a design team. In turn, it creates a communication gap that can result in communication issues.

Ensuring this doesn't occur requires extensive research of your team and the functionality required for them to complete their tasks. By including the end user in research, you can benefit your customers and employees, which can lead to more company visibility in the market.

How is the future of enterprise UX in 2024 and how is it affecting end-users?

Most enterprises are now placing importance on elevating the user experience for customers and workers. Generative AI is changing the game for enterprise UX by harnessing the power of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and using data to personalize user experiences.

The top trends for 2024 are:

  • Augmented reality integrations
  • Using virtual reality to create immersive experiences
  • Integrating AI for personalization
  • Using animations
  • Incorporating 3D graphics
  • Logins that no longer require passwords

These new technologies are paving the path forward for enterprise businesses. Businesses that incorporate such technologies will be ahead of the trend, and customers and employees will notice. It will differentiate your business and help you stand out in a crowded marketplace.


Understanding enterprise UX design requires a deep understanding of everyone who will use your products or services. It requires looking at what people in your business and those approaching your business need and creating a balance between them.

Is your business ready to revolutionize its enterprise UX? If so, we can help. Tenscope is an international team of designers. We employ user-centric designs and help enterprises improve employee productivity, increase worker happiness, and boost efficiency through user-first designs made for the modern workplace.

We have extensive experience working across multiple verticals and industries. If you are looking for an agency to help design your enterprise software, we invite you to book a consultation with us. You can do so by clicking the yellow get started button in the upper right-hand corner of your screen.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is enterprise application design?

Enterprise application design is the process of creating an application that can facilitate business processes, improve productivity and maximize brand image. It helps mesh all the working parts of a company, enhancing employee workflows and sales.

Do UX designers work on apps?

UX designers are specialized in user experience and user interface design for digital products, such as websites and apps. Their role is to make a product or service usable, enjoyable, and accessible to users by creating a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Why is enterprise UX important?

Enterprise UX is important as it can significantly increase productivity through providing end-users with more usable solutions. It also leads to a better user experience and improved efficiency within an organization.

What challenges do designers face when working on enterprise UX projects?

Designers have to grapple with conducting user research, managing information density, balancing flexibility and consistency, as well as the complexities of enterprise application development and digital transformation when working on enterprise UX projects.

What are some examples of successful enterprise UX designs?

Salesforce's CRM, Trello's project management platform and Microsoft Teams are all examples of successful enterprise UX designs that make use of thoughtful design principles and innovative solutions.

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