Why do we love some technologies – but hate others?

Tamara Rosin

I have a confession.

As a marketer, the CRM is one of the most important tools in our digital ecosystem. But in my last job, I hated it.

Even though crucial data was stored there, and even though I needed this information to perform numerous parts of my role, I dreaded our CRM and avoided it at all costs. 

Since I’ve moved on from that job, it’s been interesting to look back and understand why using the CRM generated so much frustration and stress inside me. It’s also intriguing to think about which apps I loved, even if they didn’t play a crucial role in my workflow.

At work, the way we perceive technology is complicated. We don’t base our love or hate of software on its importance to our role, or even its functionality. There is a far broader, more nuanced set of factors that determine whether we embrace it or avoid it.

So, why do we love some technology and hate others?

The more you love an app, the more likely you are to use it

Before we get into what makes some technology loveable and others painful to use, we should clarify why this question is important in the first place. The answer is simple:

The same factors that influence whether we love or hate a software also determine how successfully we adopt it.

When we love an app we are more inclined to use it. And when it comes to enterprise software, adoption rates have a strong influence on an app’s success. Digital adoption directly affects:

  • Software ROI
  • Ability to achieve business goals
  • Employee productivity
  • Employee digital experience
  • Organizational agility

Often, business users find new apps to be too challenging, disruptive to their workflow, and frustrating to use. When that’s the case, employees become disengaged, take much longer to perform business processes, look for workarounds, or avoid them altogether. Negative experiences such as these also contribute to employee resistance to future digital changes.

The challenge for IT is creating new tools that fulfill a needed function, provide a good user experience, and can be readily integrated into existing workflows without causing disruption or user frustration. 

5 traits of apps users love

Easily fits into existing processes. The most user-friendly, adoptable apps are those that fulfill an unmet need while conforming to existing business processes.  For example, writing notes and filling out forms after finishing a sales call with a lead or issuing a payment to a vendor are typical processes that are ripe for greater efficiency. Adoptable apps don’t require employees to change how they do things. Instead, they provide new capabilities that speed up work and boost innovation.

Intuitive to use. The last thing busy employees want to do is sit through hours of software training. The best apps snap right into their workflow and enable users to “learn in the flow of work.” Apps that are intuitive to use make it easy to learn on the go and prevent the productivity paradox, which occurs when productivity declines immediately after implementing digital tools that were intended to raise it . 

Offers self-service. Problems are inevitable. The difference between an app users love and an app users hate is how quickly they can resolve these problems. Apps that offer self-service support solutions for diagnosing and fixing issues are far more favorable than apps that require users to open a ticket with IT and then wait minutes, hours, or even days for support. 

Lessens the workload. Apps that are equipped with automation have the potential to take over routine processes that slow employees down and free up their time for more interesting, complex work. Automation tools enable users to set rules and processes that the app can perform autonomously at a specified time. Not only does automation help speed up the pace of business, it contributes to an overall more positive employee experience by reducing manual work.

Plays nice with others. Digital context switching, or pivoting between numerous disparate apps throughout the day, can contribute to distractions, errors, and digital fatigue. Apps that integrate into the existing digital ecosystem and allow employees to easily complete processes that span multiple apps immensely simplify their work. 

 

The 4 app evils

Disruptive and not adaptable. Technology should cater to users, not the other way around. Apps that require users to make too many changes to their workflows in order to use them are automatically perceived as an interruption. They threaten the stability and familiarity of current workflows and add too much complexity to a user’s day. For example, the complex interface and number of clicks required to do anything on the CRM in my last job added at least an hour of extra work to my day. On top of that, it was easy to make a small mistake that would completely throw off the entire report I was building, forcing me to start over.

Require hours of training. The pace of business is fast, and employees need tools that enable speed — not slow them down. Nothing grinds productivity to a halt as effectively as lengthy software onboarding. Apps that aren’t equipped with effective, on-screen tutorials and instead require hours of long in-person training sessions interrupt employees’ work and hurt productivity.

Complicated interface. UI is not just about aesthetics or branding. It has a direct effect on how efficiently users learn to navigate and perform business processes. A platform with a cluttered, non-intuitive interface will create massive amounts of friction in the user journey and make it much harder for users to remember how to complete processes later. 

Doesn’t remember us. Users depend on software every day to do their work. They want a platform that’s as personalized as possible and makes it easy to jump right back into their work. Apps that don’t have the ability to remember users’ preferences or most common uses can’t offer time-saving shortcuts or simplified processes.

Lovable apps offer the benefits businesses need

Love isn’t easy, but in the world of enterprise tech, it’s crucial to success.

If your employees hate your software, getting them to adopt it will be a constant struggle. Sophisticated capabilities and functionality are not enough — business users need apps that makes their work easier and faster. When the opposite occurs, digital adoption will not.

By introducing technology that’s intuitive, speeds up work, and makes your employees’ lives easier, all of the benefits of digital adoption will be within reach. 

Ready to use a platform that you’ll actually love – and that will improve your team’s work?

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Tamara Rosin
Tamara's writing explores the effects of technology on organizational change, culture, and consumer behavior. When she isn't busy creating marketing content, you can find her writing short stories about life in Israel.
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