Citrix Usability Design and Evaluation Team manager Doug Bloch recently wrote “Some of the challenges facing the User Experience team are ensuring that our new acquisitions match the user’s mental models of our mainstream Citrix Products“. Citrix Systems is not alone in addressing this – it is an issue that is faced across the industry.

I had the opportunity to speak with other designers facing this challenge at the recent annual conference of the Usability Professionals’ Association in Baltimore, Maryland. When posing the question “What strategy would you use to integrate look and feel throughout a product line that has been impacted by acquisitions?” the feedback flew fast and furious! (One industry expert suggested that our products need to look like they came from “One idea, one mind”, hence the title of this blog post. )

The usability and customer experience design professionals I spoke with feel strongly about the question based on the nature of our profession. But some of their input, and conversations with my teammates leads me to ponder the question at a more critical and fundamental level – what do Citrix customers think?

-                Is it realistic to expect that a “suite” of products that have been created by a few or several different companies can come together under one look and feel?

-                Could the answer be “It Depends”?  For example, is it only important to the teams deploying the product? How much or how often are end users impacted?

-                Have you seen how other companies have handled this challenge?

-                What kind of roadblocks do you think that Citrix might have in addressing this issue – and what have you seen as best practices for overcoming those roadblocks?

Looking forward to hearing what you all have to say.