Employees Want IT to Step Up the Desktop User Experience
December 09, 2015

Bassam Khan

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Managing desktops often means working in the dark — users rarely provide feedback unless something goes wrong. We set out to find out what a good desktop means for users. We did that through the largest survey ever conducted by AppSense. We got back some important statistics and a couple of surprises.

The AppSense 2015 Desktop Experience study of 868 IT desktop professionals and business users gave us metrics on perception of what is good performance, what happens when good performance is not delivered, why users want personalization, and how productivity is tied into all of these. It was also interesting to see the disconnect between IT pros' metrics for good performance versus users' ideal metrics. Lastly, there are some apples-to-apples comparison between users' and IT pros' opinion of acceptable performance, and users' own conflicting views of whether personalization is needed.

Logon Speed

The time between entering your user ID/password and when the system is available to use is a critical element of user experience. Healthcare providers, for example, do this a dozen times a day, at times with their patient in the exam room, where time and professional appearance are critical. Users expect their desktops to be as performant as their personal devices, whether laptops or mobile.

A contrast: 63% of end users felt logon time needs to be 30 seconds or less as opposed to just 56% of IT pros. Additionally, 42% of IT felt a logon speed of up to 3 minutes is "acceptable."

The research also showed that to pass unacceptably long logon time, Baby Boomers tend to switch to paper-based tasks (58%) when compared to Millennials (45%) and 28% of Millennials hit their mobile devices compared to 8% of Baby Boomers.


Another key factor in a more productive user experience is the ability to personalize their desktop. Personalization, users say, makes them more productive (57%), more efficient (52%) and more comfortable in their work environment (62%). However, IT professionals surveyed provide a reality check on how far organizations are willing to go to allow users to personalize their computing environment. In the study, 95% of IT professionals limit personalization of desktops in their organizations. It's interesting to note that the range of desktop personalization limitations varies, with 41% allowing some minimal personalization, 35% allowing personalization that their security policies permit, and 17% not allowing personalization in any way.

In this study, only 5% report employees can change their desktops any way they like. Here is "you-don't-know-what-you're-missing" in statistical terms. We asked, "Is there any benefit to personalizing your desktop?"

■ Of people who are not allowed to, only about half (52%) feel there is benefit in personalizing their desktops.

■ However, of people who are allowed to, most (92%) feel there is benefit in personalizing their desktops.

As the desktop infrastructure continues to evolve, it is vital we keep in mind the user's need for speed, and need for customization to help stay productive. They aren't nice-to-haves — they are requirements that impact the business.

Bassam Khan is VP, Product Marketing at AppSense.

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