Last week, I attended the Sustainable Performance Forum (SPF) in Chicago, among 500-plus environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability, risk and IT professionals. Enablon, the event\u2019s sponsor, spoke of the importance of of the user experience in working with their software.\nEnterprise software users interact with the system in different ways:\n\ncasual users use the software occasionally to report incidents or complete tasks;\n\u201cpower-users\u201d input the bulk of the information to the system, perform complex calculations and generate reports;\nmanagers view dashboards and trends to make informed decisions; and\nsystem and local administrators manage user accounts, create new workflows, and adjust the system configuration.\n\nThe challenge is, how can one software platform make the user experience pleasant for all of its users? The platform must be simple enough for the casual user, yet robust enough for power users.\nI use my iPad for light work-related tasks and also to relax by playing games like Restaurant Story 2 by Storm8. This gave me an idea \u2013 could enterprise software work like an iPad app?\nA six-year-old Silicon Valley company, Storm8 reached 1 billion downloads last April \u2013\u00a0a huge milestone, even in the mobile app market. Storm8\u2019s Chief Strategy Officer Terence Fung says:\n\n\u201cYou, or your team, should have clear, simple objectives about the type of game you\u2019re making and your audience... Listen to players and constantly iterate based on the feedback they give.\u201d\n\nHere's my take...\u00a0\n1.\u00a0Make the technology intuitive\nAn iPad app requires little or no training; most users are self-trained. The apps have no place for detailed help files or user manuals.\n2.\u00a0A picture is worth a thousand words\nIcons clearly illustrate actions to be taken. In Restaurant Story 2, touch the water glass in the speech bubble above a customer\u2019s head to serve water. Touch a frying pan to cook an order.\n3.\u00a0Information is at your fingertips\nTouch the icons in the status bar to check your progress. Touch the recipe book to check ingredients or touch the pantry to check your inventory. Touch the General Store to buy eggs or touch the Garden plot to harvest garlic or basil for a recipe.\n4.\u00a0Fulfill your customers\u2019 needs\nJust like in a real restaurant, in Restaurant Story 2, customers leave if there are no seats available, or if there is no food ready to serve. Most often, they leave happy. This requires constant attention. \u00a0\n5.\u00a0Reward your users\nWe all appreciate recognition for our achievements.Mobile app users earn badges and rewards as they reach certain levels or complete complex tasks.\n6.\u00a0Solicit feedback\nStorm8 has a forum for app users; they solicit feedback and act upon information regarding features that do not work quite as intended (bugs), as well as new features and functions (enhancements).\n7.\u00a0Develop a road map\nKnow where your software is headed, based upon your intended audience. Gather ideas for enhancements from users, the market, regulatory bodies, and other sources.\n8.\u00a0Continually improve your software\nMake sure that the software features and technology continue to be relevant to current and prospective customers. In Restaurant Story 2, the software company adds new challenges every week to keep users interested. Periodically, they issue a new release; the user gets a free upgrade, while maintaining their status and achievements.\n9.\u00a0Use your resources wisely\nHave the right team size and skill sets to deliver. Sometimes this means running a lean team.\n10.\u00a0Plan for growth\nPrepare to be successful. Think about how you can extend the app to other modules or users, keeping your core competencies in mind. And keep the cash flowing.\nSometime in the near future, I would like to see enterprise software applications provide an improved UX, more like we see with the best iPad apps. It certainly would make the enterprise software user experience more fun!\nNote: the author conducts independent software evaluation and selections, and some of its clients are Enablon software users. The author receives no compensation for software licenses sold.