From UX to EX: Designing Great Employee Experiences on your Corporate Intranet

Before I really dive in, I’ll assume that you know what UX is. If not, here’s a link. Then, let me define the other acronym I casually threw into the title of this article.

In the world of human resources, there’s the so-called Employee Experience (EX). This relatively new term refers to the all the continuous improvement with interactions and touch-points an employee has with the organization, specially with its corporate services (think HR services, IT services, corporate facilities, etc.) In theory, the better the employees’ experiences with these services are, the happier and more engaged they will be.

Still with me? Great.

If you think about it for a moment, these two terms have a lot in common and it’s not just the fact that they both compress the word “experience” to a letter X. No, what’s fundamentally similar is that the two concepts are about empathy, about putting people first. I like to think of them as the countermovement to the “bottom-line”. In our efforts to create efficiencies, to scale, to streamline, to standardize, and mass produce, we have forgotten about people. We create things because “that’s what the business wants”, but often fail to consider if “that’s what the customer needs”. So, given that these two concepts are fundamentally similar, what if we merged them in such a way that it is useful to address this disconnect between people and digital/organizational processes?

A framework is born

Las year I was involved in a huge website redesign project for the HR department of a large multilateral organization: the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). We knew that the website had to be migrated to a more modern CMS platform, that we needed to have a “mobile-first” approach in development, and that we needed to catch up with new HTML5 standards. That was all well. However, I wanted to go beyond improving the technological infrastructure.

I wanted to use this redesign project as an opportunity to make HR knowledge less HR-ish. You know what I mean; less paperworky, less verbose, friendlier, smoother. In an attempt to compensate for the inescapable realities of the function’s inherent bureaucracy, I thought it was time to use UX design as the philosophy powering the content and interface design strategies of the website.

And so a framework was born: Employee Experience Design. I simply merged my experience and passion for UX design with the needs and goals of the employee. This wasn’t so much a tested methodology, but a perspective shift in our daily work on the project. The framework made everything much more concrete and focused. Now our team could make informed decisions about content strategy and information architecture concerns, taking the career goals of the IDB employee into account as its primordial source of value.

The new HR intranet website has been live for just three months at the time of this publication, so we’re still iterating on the effectiveness of some of our designs. However, I’d like to share with you three lessons we learned from the process that can help you create digital experiences for employees that are more fine-tuned to their needs.

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JavaScript Patterns in Object Oriented Programming and Inheritance

When I first started learning JavaScript, I would challenge myself by reading source code I would find at Github from some open-source repo. Other times, I would just view > source a website and look under the hood. This, I thought, would verify that I was indeed understanding the theory and concepts I learned from books. Often, however, these autodidactic activities resulted in my spirits crushed as I encountered code blocks that were too convoluted and elaborate; code that would use all those little building blocks of the language (logical operators, keywords, variable scope, etc) together in order to build a complex architecture I was completely ignorant of and intimidated by. In short, I would just run into code that was well beyond my limited comprehension.

One thing I did notice was that there was a lot of similarities between code blocks. Which meant there was probably a fairly standardized, conventional pattern being used.  Lately, I’ve finally got a chance to be introduced to these patterns thanks to my current university class. And so I though’t it’d be beneficial to share some of these pervasive patterns that you’ll likely find at some point in your journey as a JavaScript developer. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

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