When tablet computers and smartphones entered our lives we realized that you don’t need to take a course or consult a manual to use software. Even toddlers can understand the interface and logic of an iPad. Why should we settle with less with our business applications?
The world is filled with unused software that was purchased because a geek or an expert liked it. Nobody asked the users with they really wanted the high-end project portfolio management software that came with a 1000-page manual (that has really happened).
Experts need and can learn through months or years of practice to use a tool productively and get amazing results. Just watch any movie with staggering 3D effects. The situation is totally different when you have a management team that uses a tool once a week, or once a month. The tool has to be intuitive to use and not require lengthy training or constant support from more advanced users.
What makes software really user-friendly?
Here are some practical ideas:
- The design of the application should start with the question: “What would be the simplest and most natural way from the user’s point of view to solve this design challenge?”
- Users should be involved as partners, not just as testers, in the design process.
- The application’s logic should be obvious at once. If the user needs to read instructions to understand how everything works, the application is too complex.
- The application’s user interface should be more “conventional” than “innovative”. Conventional in this conte