It looks like usability is important to a lot of people these days.  We recently ran a survey with Citrix’s private Customer Advisory Community (CAC) called “Prioritizing Usability”, and we got 106 responses, which is above average.  And the respondents definitely felt strongly.

The survey was meant to gauge what kind of usability was important for Citrix to address and whether people felt usability for administrators affects end-users and vice versa.   As the baby boomer population continues to make way for the new generation of echo boomers, “Old School” system administrators will be faced with the challenge of administering to an end user population that is used to customization and flexibility. That has not been a part of the “only give them what they need so they can’t muck it up” policy that most administrators have lived by in the past.

Interestingly enough, most people in the CAC think our user experiences (UX) are already quite good, as you can see below:


79% felt the administrator user experience was “good” or “excellent”.  84% felt the experience for end-users was “good” or “excellent”.

Notably, almost all of those who had issues with the administrator UX pointed out the lack of one console, and others mentioned printing.  The end-user UX comments were not particularly consistent.

Where to focus

Still, if we had to focus our User Experience efforts somewhere, it was reasonably split with a leaning towards end-users (54%) as compared to administrators (38%).  And it is partially based on whether or not the current interfaces are considered “good enough.”

For those who said we should focus on the end-users, a summary of the reasons is below:

  • The End-user Experience  (EUX) can still benefit from improvement
  • If end users reject the XenApp solution, it means there is no need for XenApp admins, or for XenApp
  • Admins are trainable and can handle usability quirks.  End users cannot handle as well or simply will not handle usability quirks.
  • Making users happy or more productive makes IT look good and can give IT more control or ability to standardize
  • Fewer support calls

For those who said we should focus on the administrators, a summary of the reasons is below:

  • The EUX is already good
  • More EUX improvements won’t boost productivity much, if at all
  • If you make an admin’s work easier, the EUX will naturally improve as well since admins can respond more quickly to problems or do it right for the user the first time.

Mutual Benefits

The other interesting questions we asked were about whether or not people felt that improving the administrator UX will benefit end-users, and vice versa.  Plenty of respondents would like improvements to both admin and end-user UX, as they see the benefits to each and how they feed off each other.  It’s a win-win.

Others, on the other hand, felt pretty strongly that it was just one-way.  But the skewing indicates that more people strongly felt that IT benefits from EUX improvements than end-users benefiting from IT UX improvements.  The breakdown is below: 

How about you?

Do you feel strongly?  Is there something here we missed?  If you’re not a member of the Citrix CAC, feel free to jump in (I’d hate to count you twice, otherwise!).  And if you’d like to be part of this private community, we are accepting applications right now.  Here is a link to the page on where you can learn more about the community and apply for membership: Customer Advisory Community.

Thanks for your time.

Scott Novack

Usability Design and Evaluation Team