Adapting for enterprise

4 min read
Margaret Kelsey
  •  Apr 22, 2016
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Adapting your consumer product for enterprise use poses distinct design challenges. So, we invited Samira Khoshnood, Product Designer at Evernote, to share lessons learned from introducing a popular consumer service into the workplace. 

Watch the full recording below, or read on for our highlights from Samira’s talk.


Real world examples of consumer products adapting to enterprise

Evernote is well known as an incredibly helpful personal app. A huge segment of people use it be more productive at work, too. In 2012, Evernote saw that two-thirds of their users were using it for work, so they created Evernote Business.

Samira says the main goal was to help teams of people collaborate. Evernote could be an external brain for an entire company and could help preserve institutional knowledge. Evernote Business differed from the personal app by selling licenses for everyone in the company, providing a joint space for collaborative work, along with administrative tools and security features.

Evernote headquarters.

Other consumer apps moving into the business realm:

  • Dropbox: A few years ago, they came out with a business version that you can link to your personal account. So you can easily toggle between your business and personal files. With added collaboration features.
  • Airbnb: A subset of their customers were using the service for business travel, so Airbnb listened to what they were asking for and came up with Airbnb Business for business travelers.  The way it works: a company creates a business account and employees charge trips to the company’s account, and admins have tools to manage these trips.
  • Uber: It’s a similar situation with them. People were using Uber to get to work, and to get around on business trips, so why not offer a business product? The company will create an account and specify certain restrictions (like times of day, or locations), and only trips that follow the policy will be charged to the company’s account.

These services provide benefits to everyone involved: For employees, it’s all about convenience. They’re removing the hassle of filing expenses, and people don’t have to create a whole new account on a service they already use.

For businesses, it helps streamline the expense process.

People don’t want to look stupid at work

Samira had 5 things to keep in mind. We’re recapping her first tip here. Watch the video above for the remaining 4!

Samira shared a personal story about a design team critique she attended during her first week at Evernote. Her team used a digital notebook in Evernote to share mockups they wanted to go over during the critique.

“People don’t want to look stupid at work.”

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Brand new to product design, Samira created a note in Evernote, named it “Terms to look up,” and started filling it up. After the meeting, one of her new coworkers pulled her aside to let her know that she accidentally created her very personal note in a shared notebook… that the whole team could see.

People don’t want to look foolish anywhere, but they’re a lot more tolerant of making mistakes in personal communication. At work, it can be a lot more embarrassing—or costly. Designers should identify scenarios where users could make a humiliating mistake.Twitter Logo

Copy matters

Designers: anticipate fears people might have while using your productTwitter Logo, especially when it comes to sharing and communicating. Be clear in the design and in the language. It’s also important to be clear about the visibility of people’s content. 

In Evernote’s web app, they’ve created tooltips that help explain the difference between personal, business, shared, and published notebooks. But even with tooltips, people can still be unsure about the visibility of their content. So the Mac team has been experimenting with clarifying this at the notebook creation.

“Anticipate fears people might have while using your product.”

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When you create a notebook, you have to choose from the following options:

  • Is this notebook just meant for you?
  • Do you want to share it with a few individuals?
  • Do you want everyone on your team to have access to it?

Not only do you need to make sure people don’t make mistakes that make them look bad, but you also need to help people maintain a professional appearance when they’re communicating with their colleagues.

When you’re speaking on their behalf, like when they use your app to communicate with someone who doesn’t have an account, make sure it doesn’t feel like they’re sending spam. Focus on the content the person is trying to share, rather than promoting your product.

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Collaborate in real time on a digital whiteboard