Collaboration technology is key to facilitating information management and effective organizational communication, however, a study from Deloitte revealed that 47 percent of business and HR leaders expressed concerns as to whether their existing collaboration tools really helped drive overall productivity.

The ability to deliver a good user experience (UX) is crucial in selecting the appropriate communications and collaboration technology.  A well-designed user interface (UI), which includes all visual elements; pages, icons, buttons and screens, plays a significant role in enabling more effective collaboration.

A poorly designed UI can be problematic within a business, and culminate in issues, such as a negative UX.   It can irritate employees, cause overall worker productivity to decline, while failure to collaborate can result in technology adoption being abandoned.

In the same study, 47 percent of business leaders also claimed that they felt that the productivity of the “new workplace”, with the flood of new collaboration tools available, was a very important concern.  The approach to an improved UX is for organizations to consider a well-designed UI, which will improve the overall quality of their meetings.

According to a survey by Udemy on distractions in the workplace, three out of four workers feel that they are distracted on the job, while 70 percent agree that training on how to adequately utilize these tools would help block out distractions and focus better.  A conference platform with all the necessary functions integrated can still require significant time and effort to locate certain features.

The biggest obstacle for unified communication and collaboration users is to recognize, when, where and why employees or customers utilize conference tools and even more so, which specific features are critical, and which are less useful.

Using UI to Drive Productivity

As mobile devices are becoming the new business norm, IT-professionals must be able to adapt and ensure that the UI is both as functional as it is mobile-friendly. Our own research, in collaboration with the GSMA’s Mobile World Live, showed that 44 percent of people preferred smartphones for unified communication and collaboration services.

Joining a virtual meeting should be as easy as walking into one in real life. A well-designed UI is easy to navigate, contains all the necessary prompts and most importantly, should be able to imitate apps that most users are accustomed to dealing with.  These factors should help users have a positive experience with their chosen conferencing platform.

The aesthetic design of the UI should not be overlooked, as layout and colours are also important elements to the overall experience.  After all, though usability of the platform may initially attract people to it, the visual appeal of a UI is what really allows it to stand out from the crowd, and for users to adopt it with widespread enthusiasm.

The Significance of User Testing

User testing is generally the most effective way for product and design development teams to improve the overall design of collaboration technology.   Ongoing user testing allows our team to make minor tweaks until we are able to provide the best UX possible. Techniques we use such as cadence mapping indicate how usage across various functional areas, such as scheduling or chatting evolve into a pattern for our users.

For instance, we have discovered that smartphones are often being used by people to join meetings while they are in their cars. Subsequently, UI elements should be designed to be much larger and easier to read, particularly audio control buttons.  Our simple, three-tab design allows users to navigate swiftly and effectively through various functions.  While our text and interface was also redesigned with stationary users in mind, as they often use their devices hands-free  in meetings.

So in conclusion, an improved UI will in turn lead to a better UX. Widespread adoption of this technology will also translate into a positive ROI. The criteria for an effective collaboration approach includes: a simple navigation system, an aesthetically pleasing interface and relevance to the business.  Once the technology chosen is in alignment with team preferences and behaviours, it will result in a more engaged, efficient and productive workforce.