Digital Edition

SYS-CON.TV
The User Interface Revolution Will Be Televised
Software application development teams must now balance UX-related usability along with a core devotion to true functionality

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

We all want usability, that's a given right? We exist in an enterprise world, but we want to behave as naturally as possible with all of the technologies and devices that we come into contact with every day.

The co-called ‘consumerization of information technology' suggests that we as users have adopted powerful devices for our home and personal use. These devices will in many respects out-perform those devices that we might be using or have used in the workplace.

The corollary or upshot of this reality is that workers themselves start to perform their work-related tasks more effectively if they are given a user interface that feels familiar. When we say familiar, let us be more specific - we are talking about making enterprise application user interfaces more attuned to those we might have found in consumer-style applications.

This (somewhat nauseatingly) is often termed part of the User eXperience (UX) factor that has become so crucial in all aspects of software application development and systems management as a whole.

What this means is that software application development teams must now balance UX-related usability along with a core devotion to true functionality. It also means they will have to balance the ROI needed to pull off the UX goals with the still-essential security (and compliance and governance etc.) requirements set by the IT department as they strive to create a user experience that employees will love.

The Hardest Chasm to Cross
One of the hardest bridges to cross here is the fact that the UX for most enterprise applications is formulated during the age when desktops ruled. This is of course no longer the case and we naturally talk about mobile-first as the defining factor, which must drive all application creation at every level.

While some of this discussion edges on the arguably rather fluffy borders of user experience design consultancy, there is a reality to embrace here and that is the fact that the user now becomes a much more dynamic force in terms of the way we build software applications. If that almost sounds stupid, then it should - and perhaps we should have been this responsive to users' needs years ago.

We know that optimal application design can help retain users, improve user productivity and lower customer service costs.

This truth means that we have to use another word that has been sullied by over-use in terms of PR spin and hackneyed repetition: intuitive.

Intuitive user interface design means being able to use an application well, of course, but what does it really mean?

Jared M Spool wrote a brilliant piece almost a decade ago now where here said, "To those who police the English language, interfaces can't be intuitive, since they are the behavior side of programs and programs can't intuit anything. When someone is asking for an intuitive interface, what they are really asking for is an interface that they, themselves, can intuit easily. They are really saying, ‘I want something I find intuitive' [to use]."

How to Make a Great GUI
The secret to making a great user interface great is complex. There are basic points to mention though: keep it mobile first, keep it consistent (so that users do the ‘same sort' of action on all pages of the GUI), keep it fallible (users make a lot of mistakes, accommodate for that factor), keep it conventional (there are many de facto standards that we are all used to such as a trash can for a delete action), keep it simple and ... perhaps most of all... keep it functional and personalized.

If we get all these elements right, well, even if we get most of these elements right or at least make sure that we have been thinking about them then there is every chance that our GUIs will shine and that this particular revolution will be televised.

It might end up being televised on a tablet or smartphone first, but the GUI revolution will be televised.

About Adrian Bridgwater
Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

In order to post a comment you need to be registered and logged in.

Register | Sign-in

Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1



ADS BY GOOGLE
Subscribe to the World's Most Powerful Newsletters

ADS BY GOOGLE

The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming ou...
CI/CD is conceptually straightforward, yet often technically intricate to implement since it require...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple ...
Enterprises are striving to become digital businesses for differentiated innovation and customer-cen...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As au...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't com...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but d...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, wi...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Ed Featherston has been named the "Tech Chair" of "FinTechEXPO ...
Chris Matthieu is the President & CEO of Computes, inc. He brings 30 years of experience in developm...
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: D...
Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, is an accomplished digital business executive with e...
In this presentation, you will learn first hand what works and what doesn't while architecting and d...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitori...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use ...
If your cloud deployment is on AWS with predictable workloads, Reserved Instances (RIs) can provide ...
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different syste...
Consumer-driven contracts are an essential part of a mature microservice testing portfolio enabling ...