Cloud-based business software vendors boast that their solutions are “easy to use” with good reason: their engineers work hard to ensure their app’s user interface is intuitive, accessible, and traversable by even the most non-technical person. This is really important, because in order for new business software to start making a difference to employee productivity and costs, business users need to adopt the technology—and use their tools. If they’re not user-friendly, it’s going to be a challenge to move forward with any transformational agenda!
In Search of an Intuitive User Interface
“Having a simple, understandable user interface on an application aids user acceptance, and even considerations such as interoperability and security,” according to InformationWeek. In fact, a survey among their community of IT professionals found that 74% of IT managers emphasized the importance of a “simple user interface” when shopping around for a new platform.
As we’ve discussed before, business software users are engaging with incredibly elegant and consumer-friendly apps in their lives outside of the office. Aside from visiting ecommerce sites and social media channels, they’re sending instant messages and streaming digital content from screens and devices of all sizes. These streamlined and largely enjoyable experiences are raising the bar for business apps, putting the onus on software vendors to follow suit.
Thankfully, that’s just what they’re doing. They’re pouring development resources into ensuring their apps’ user experience rises to customer demands and meets expectations. But what does this mean, exactly? There’s no standard definition for “intuitive user interface,” but it’s what everyone (software vendors and customers alike) is aiming for. So what do the users of modern ERP, CRM, BI and other business systems consider “intuitive” and what do they need to be able to easily “do” with their software? With these questions in mind, here’s our take on what it means for an app to have an intuitive user interface:
It Just Works
To put it simply, an intuitive user interface guides a user through whatever they’re trying to achieve—and it works. They get from point A to B to C without having to ask for help or receive special training. While prior knowledge is helpful, of course, a user doesn’t have to think too hard in order to accomplish tasks using their software tools.
It Delivers What’s Expected
As we suggested, an intuitive experience is one that doesn’t require deep thinking—a person can more or less jump into a screen-based task and know what to do. With business software, users expect the ability to easily view high-level insights and drill-downs with help from tabs and drop-down menus. They expect to customize their dashboard views and reports, and share findings “with the click of a button.” They’ll look for said tabs, menus, and buttons, and navigate accordingly, in orderly steps that make sense to them.
It Provides At-A-Glance Comprehension
Similarly, today’s users expect their business software will use the terms they understand and use in their everyday work-life and present their data in ways they’re accustomed to seeing it (or want to see it). In other words, upon logging into their software and starting to “click around,” company data and the user interface itself is configured for their company or brand and the way they work, offering a consistent look and feel across the entire experience.
It’s Easy to Access
Today, accessibility means software is browser and app-based, and able to be pulled up on any connected computer or device at any time. It also means not having multiple logins (but enough authentication to keep them secure) and the ability to switch from one device to the next to accommodate increasingly mobile workstyles. Another consideration here is that their software will be responsive and deliver immediate results, likely in real-time, so they can access answers “now.”
If you’re ready to treat your organization’s decision-makers with intuitive, easy-to-use software experiences, contact us to learn more.