Creating a Consumer-like Experience for Automation
The majority of people still feel automation is too complex. In fact, a Forrester podcast on the future of work discussed the concept of the robotics quotient (RQ). It’s the measurement of how prepared an organization is to adapt to, collaborate with, and drive business results from Robotic Process Automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and related automation technologies.
RQ scores are lower than expected due to two key factors: lack of understanding on how automation is supposed to work, and lack of leadership for automation change management.
At Automation Anywhere, we understand that to truly change — and dramatically improve — the way the business world works requires a giant step forward. For that reason, we completely redesigned our automation products in an effort to create a consumer-like experience for all users at all levels, to democratize the workplace. We’re pleased to report we achieved that goal and more.
A human-centered design approach
For our Automation Anywhere Enterprise A2019 product, we implemented a new development methodology called human-centered design (HCD), which required a rigorous look at several aspects of how customers use, or would like to use, Automation Anywhere products.
HCD is an iterative, multistep process that ensures actual user needs are considered as part of the product design:
- Understand – Inform designs with direct observations and video interviews of real people in their daily working environments.
- Frame – Clarify problems and opportunities based on that research to maximize discovered customer goals.
- Prototype – Iteratively create potential solutions that are evaluated with real people’s feedback — from rough sketches to clickable mockups.
In designing Enterprise A2019, the UX team engaged more than 200 users to iterate and improve designs. Users told us how to improve, and we validated the results against a smaller sample size.
Personas — a key factor in the design process
The human-centered design methodology focuses on user personas — e.g., business users, developers, and IT managers and their unique needs. We wanted to create one platform that benefits all users. Let’s look at the RPA-based personas and their requirements.
Enterprise A2019 enables three key personas to build powerful, secure bots that improve productivity and lower costs. Persona requirements in automation systems include:
|Business user||RPA developer||IT/RPA manager|
|Automate tasks with only a few clicks using a highly intuitive, browser-based RPA that is instantly available on any device and delivers a visual interface for bot development.||Instantly enable business logic and workflows into complete, end-to-end business process automation through a powerful development environment, in seamless collaboration with business users and the help of a pluggable and extensible architecture.||Deploy RPA for users in just a few clicks, easily managing users across the enterprise, relying on the infinite scalability of the cloud, reducing ownership costs, and dramatically decreasing time to value.|
The Enterprise A2019 user interface works the way people do: visually and intuitively, and with minimal programming — unless the user wishes to engage in that. This is especially valuable for the business user who might not be as technically inclined as the RPA developer or IT manager.
The human-centered design approach ties in perfectly with our make work human philosophy. And Enterprise A2019 is only the beginning. Enterprise A2019 is a fundamentally new product built on a new design paradigm. It’s the foundation of our Digital Workforce portfolio.
Our user experience team involved hundreds of customers from different geos, cultures, and levels of technical sophistication in the design process; this gave us real-world testing and feedback that resulted in major enhancements.
What type of enhancements? We transitioned the application to be web-based rather than desktop-based in order to create a familiar, seamless user interface. We also added multiple views so that business users and RPA developers can better collaborate. Additionally, we incorporated in-product learning, which assists the new user and the power user alike.
These investments have democratized the workplace and now enable virtually anyone to become a bot-creating virtuoso in minutes. Employees will be more productive and happier. Total cost of ownership will continue to decrease. And the highest levels of security will be maintained.
Human-centered design plus automation is a win-win for everyone in your organization.