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Cisco Webex is the leading enterprise solution for video conferencing, online meetings, screen share, and webinars.
Cisco Webex is one of the leading collaboration platforms in the world, ubiquitous in offices from Bangkok to Baltimore. But the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated its use, as well as expanded who was the typical Webex user.
“Traditionally, a product like Webex has primarily been used by knowledge workers in an enterprise setting,” said Mani Pande, former head of UX research at Cisco Webex. “But right now, because of COVID and social distancing, everyone uses a product like Webex. People are using Webex to talk to their family. They're talking to their friends. I've had Webex calls with my mother-in-law, which I never did in the 20 years that I've been married.”
To illustrate that change, as the pandemic took hold in April, more than half a billion people used Webex for a total of 25 billion minutes worth of meetings, or 3X more than normal. During the spring, Webex also found that:
Pande and the Webex team needed to support customers — whether B2B professionals or high school teachers — and their changing needs so that they could stay connected anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Deadlines were tight, so they would need a platform that would allow them to iterate quickly on insights from users around the world.
Webex took advantage of UserTesting’s global testing panel and Live Conversations to learn more about their global users. For example, they wanted to better understand the needs of educators who now had to remotely teach about 1.2 billion students worldwide.
“The good thing was that we were able to get to a lot of teachers, a lot of them globally,” Pande said. “So, people in Brazil, people in Europe, Australia, we were able to do that in a very short time period because of using Live Conversations with UserTesting.”
Through fast feedback from users, Webex was able to introduce more than 100 new features since the pandemic began such as noise cancellation, Breakout Rooms, live transcription and Webex Classroom.
Chuck Robbins, Cisco’s chairman and CEO, during his opening remarks for the 2020 WebexOne Conference, said the new normal will include remote collaboration. “That’s why we’re so focused on making the Webex experience 10 times better than in-person interactions. Because we have an opportunity to reimagine what work looks like. We can do this by simplifying your experience making it more customizable and more inclusive to fit your needs.”
Pande said the best UX research happens when product managers, engineers, designers and other stakeholders participate.
“They need to know what it's like to be in the shoes of the customers. And the only way you can be close to the customer is if you're listening to them,” she said. “We are not building products for just ourselves. We need to understand, will it work for the Brazilian educator who has never used Outlook before. That's why you need to understand what the perspective is of the user. What are their needs? And this is how you build empathy.”
“We love UserTesting because it’s pretty easy for anyone to set up tasks; it’s easy to bring collaborators onto a project; it has a great testing panel that allows you to find very, very specialized personas; and you can iterate quickly using it.”