Do it right on the first time
When an organization chooses to transition from common end-point physical computers, to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), either on-premises or cloud-based, the IT department must do everything to minimize the risks and common issues that might happen. It is really common to architect the best possible design with an amazing hardware, a secure and reliable infrastructure, however all EUC projects at the end comes to the same point: “Are the users able to use it?” If you don’t know the answer you might not know how is the User eXperience for your clients.
The definition of User Experience (UX) is “A person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful, and valuable aspects of human–computer interaction and product ownership”, which is basically how we interact with anything nowadays. When we open any application on a smartphone, when we use an ATM, while driving or watching YouTube, we’re interacting with many systems and each of them having a different user interface (UI) and also user experience (UX). The goal is to provide the best experience so that we, as users, enjoy using and without even realizing it, having them as good and reliable products.
It is not different than any EUC project, a successful project comes with a great user experience, the users will always define the project accomplishment, it doesn’t matter how amazing it looks like in the datacentre if the user experience is bad the users won’t buy it. To achieve a good user experience in this case, many steps and phases has to be planned, below I will list some key points to be taken in consideration in any project.
Proof of Concept
This phase is for IT department be able to test how the product and solution works, how would be integrated with the current environment, prerequisites and compatibility, and also possible to map use cases which was not yet defined. That phase usually is done as pre-sales activities.
Every EUC project should start with a good assessment, it will give us an insight of end-user activity, to be better incorporated in the final approach. The assessment will also shows how many applications and what are most used, how is the performance of end users’ machine, which can be useful to set a virtual hardware for a Pilot, and many other performance metrics to help size and design the solution.
Latency, Quality and Usability
In order to deliver the best experience for the users, the virtual desktop should have an optimized image, there are a couple tools and procedures to achieve a good result on that, VMware and Citrix have good documented steps for optimization. After that we can monitor and test the usability and quality of that image, and also not least, be very cautious with latency, which can be a huge problem and affect the user experience, if it is not right sized. Many design approaches can be used to mitigate the latency, as cloud-based VDI, geolocation access on the nearest on-premises datacentre, virtual apps, etc. It will only depend on what the use cases should be achieved.
In this phase an approach has been set, and the use cases are known, and many tests have been performed during the POC, now it’s time to see how everything works together and how end-users will utilize the newly solution. Usually a few users from different areas and expertise are selected to test and use the solution.
User Expectations and Feedback
That phase is highly important, as it will dictate whatever has to be fixed, changed or aligned in order to achieve users’ and project expectations. The feedback is also a great resource for the final production environment, a questionnaire should be sent together for each user, with questions regarding accessibility, usability, easiness, performance, etc.
At the end of the path we should have a good understanding of all aspects that must be considered during a EUC project, and the environment should be ready for production. It is not a difficult way, with the right tools and process everything is achievable. Always keep in mind that the user experience will dictate the value and reliability of the project and combining these key points will make the journey easier and satisfactory.