Mac UX Lessons Every Enterprise App Should Adopt

Mac UX Lessons Every Enterprise App Should Adopt

Not long ago, the idea of managing Macs in the enterprise would have been received with lot skepticism and confusion. After all, why should IT bother about a handful of devices used by a few folks in the marketing and graphic design departments? A lot has changed in the last few years. Today’s high expectations of Mac users are leading to better-designed enterprise apps.

The so-called “consumerization of IT” has led to many enterprise executives and employees to demand the use of their own devices to access corporate data and applications. A recent survey from Tech Pro Research, ZDNet’s sister site, found that 77 percent of respondents said their organizations began deploying Apple devices, or allowing employees to bring their own devices, because a non-IT employee or executive requested them or because IT wanted to let employees choose which machines they used.

As enterprise IT adapts to the usage and adoption of Macs, the rules that governed UX design for enterprise software have changed dramatically. Users are starting to expect the same standard of user experience in enterprise software as they are used to in the consumer world. Enterprise software can no longer get away with cumbersome and complex workflows (expense reporting tools, VPN, accounting software, anyone?) as users have high expectations around all aspects of usability – aesthetics, design and the workflows involved in accomplishing a task.

Druva is an example of enterprise software designed for the post-PC era. The software, which protects corporate data stored on mobile devices and cloud apps, is designed from the start for highly mobile users, so the product design team “understands the critical role of UX in today’s enterprise products,” says Gopal Vaswani, Druva’s Director of User Experience. The end user experience is not an afterthought, but a key factor is decisions made during the product development process, and reflective of the wider culture in Druva. “Striving for product simplicity is integral to Druva DNA,” says Vaswani.

As the Druva user base within enterprise companies shifted from being predominantly Windows-based to a hybrid environment, the design team put in significant effort to enhance usability and end user experience across all of our endpoint clients, Mac OS X in particular. “Instead of just repackaging our windows client for Mac environment,” says Vaswani, “We approached the Mac client design keeping in mind the high UX expectations of Mac users and Apple’s OS design paradigm. ”

The guiding principles around the upcoming inSync 5.6 client for Mac includes a focus on simple visual and interaction design, and transparency. Here is a sneak peek of what you will see in the new release, inSync 5.6:.

Exposing the most important information and actions first

A new menu bar engages the user more closely and makes most commonly used features and information easily available. The menu bar uses Mac’s native UI framework to provide best in class, highly responsive user experience.

context-menu

Screen 1: Ubiquitous seamless integration between systems Finder plugin integration, Menu bar menu, and Notifications.

Most often, end users are interested in simply knowing the status of their backup/sync status, recently synced files, or in taking some contextual action (pause, starting the backup again, etc). The team leveraged the Mac’s ‘menu bar extra’ to provide users with the ability to perform these tasks with a single click. With this design, the application provides the needed information without opening the full client user interface.

backup-complete

Screen 2: The new 5.6 client also provides additional statistics around last backup cycle and backup content, again adhering to the design guideline of showing this extra level of detail only if requested by the end user.

A clean and simple interface for inSync 5.6 is designed to show only what information is required and reveal more on demand. Separate sections for backup and sync & share bring flexibility. On the main client screens, the product team worked judiciously to make the messages (errors, warning, information) much more user friendly and minimalist.

Instead of showing the system files and folder hierarchy in a small popup, the upcoming 5.6 client uses an intuitive paradigm to list all your system folders. By default, folders rarely backed up are hidden.  This keeps the listing narrowed to the relevant content, though users can always check the option to show hidden folders or files to get the complete list.  They also integrated the file and folder exclusions right into this workflow so that end users can immediately see the chosen set data set and make changes if allowed to do so.

add-folder

Screen 3: New and improved UX which visually blends into Mac environment and provides a look and feel of an native app.

Such visual simplicity and transparency helps users know what is happening with the system at all times. The goal of this redesign, from Vaswani’s perspective, is that users feel that their system is always being protected, which, in fact, is the ultimate goal of the inSync client. “The new design is serving a purpose: to communicate protection and trust,” says Vaswani.

Protecting what’s on Macs is just as important as usability

As employees are increasingly on the go and freed from a desktop environment, the risk of device loss is more urgent. This is where Druva’s inSync functionality comes into play. inSync helps organizations secure their Mac OSX laptops and protect sensitive information from unforeseen circumstances.

Among these inSync features:

  • Remotely locate Macs across the globe and selectively wipe the data to prevent sensitive data from being compromised.
  • The ‘persona migration’ feature helps administrators manage system state and enterprise data migration in the case of a device refresh or break/fix scenario.
  • Governance capabilities provide 360-degree visibility and control over enterprise data. IT organizations can proactively identify and flag non-compliant data from all endpoints including Mac OSX devices.
  • e-Discovery enablement capabilities allow enterprises to collect custodian data from these devices and make it available for legal hold or other litigation-related purposes.

All of this is accomplished with a few clicks in a single, easy to use dashboard for IT administrators, and via a seamless client installed on end user devices. While this level of usability is par for the course for a consumer app, it’s a refreshing change for an enterprise app managing such complex tasks.

“We are thrilled that our customers tell us time and time again that our products are a joy to use. By making them work well, we help our overall goal of protecting data while staying out of the way of end users who just want to get things done,” says Prem Ananthakrishnan, Sr. Director of Product Management. “We all look forward to releasing inSync 5.6 early in November so that our customers can experience these changes.”

In the meantime, please share feedback. What makes an enterprise application (or any app for that matter) a joy to use? Share your thoughts below.

Learn more about Druva inSync:

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Vivek Gopalan

Vivek is an entrepreneur with experience in designing and developing technology products. Prior to Druva, he has been working as a Product Manager in Zighra, one of the leading start-ups in Ottawa At Druva, Vivek is a Product Manager for Druva's core product backup & restore and is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the product.

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