I’ve been working somewhere (LinkedIn will know) where they use Citrix and virtual machines on a daily basis, as a replacement for real local desktops. This is a brilliant idea, allowing impeccable employee mobility, swapping around of laptops and desktops, and “work from home” capabilities. But…
My personal issue comes from the fact that every single day, I need to log into Citrix, from my macbook Air, so I can have access to outlook, instant messaging, sharepoint, visio, printing… basically the touchpoints of getting any work done. And the interface prevents you from doing this easily and quickly.
So I have put together a recommendation to improve part of the design by introducing:
a) the ability to press “enter” and trigger the next available action (only one next action from each entry point).
b) the guidance of “here is what you should enter next”, in the sequence the fields that need to be entered, rather than making the user go down then back up and then back down to complete a multiple-times-a-day task.
That wasn’t too hard, was it, Citrix UX team? Or is perhaps process obfuscation part of security?
It also manages to _prevent_ input errors from happening. Well. At least insofar as the process goes, and offering some guidance about what needs to be done. Humans will always create errors. We can only prevent as many as possible, make sure we are resilient when they happen, and always explain what went wrong and how to fix it.
One would assume that logging in is a once-a-day task. But. From my mac I’ve discovered that sometimes the Citrix client times out. If I go to a long meeting, I come back and it’s gone. Sometimes the session crashes. Sometimes it’s so slow (server overload) that I have to kill it and relaunch it, hoping it will find a calmer server in the pool. And every time I need to go to a meeting with my laptop and close the lid (which puts it to sleep)… the session disconnects. I routinely log in a good 3-7 times a day.
Dear Citrix devs, if you do make use of this design, could you add “UX fix recommended by @eurydice13” in a comment in your source? I work with Dev teams a lot, almost was a dev myself, so if ever anyone on your end wants to run something by me, they can. Let me help. I love fixing this stuff. All you need to do to find me is to type my username into Google. So please, add it to the source for others to find in a time of need.
Download a (.zip) with the assets and balsamiq mockups file used to create this example. With much love, just in time for Valentine’s day. (I lived in Canada too long, Valentine’s is big there, take the zip file and don’t expect chocolates as a follow-up).