Business Process Management Platform

Designing Software For Goldilocks

24-Jul-2014 11:36:00

“It’s just not pretty.” That statement can be the undoing of your entire BPM project. If users are not comfortable with the interface provided by the enabling software, all your hard work, planning and change management magic will be for naught.

Users are more fussy than ever – and with good reason...

The function over form debate has raged between developers and designers for years, with the end user bobbing around somewhere in the middle. Neat is nice, functional is better.

But why not have both we wonder?

The development team at FlowCentric Technologies have strived for, and succeeded in, producing a both functional and attractive interface with which customers can successfully run their business processes.

So Why Don’t More Software Providers Do That?

What many people don’t realise is that simple is often harder than complex. To design a clean and easy to navigate interface for a software application as complex as a BPM tool, while still providing all the functionality and data required by users is not an easy task. Everything from the maximum and minimum spacing adaptations of a specific font, to the applications compatibility with an array of web browsers needs to be tested.

Why test the font? To ensure that the placeholders can handle a multitude of customised text variations, without wrapping the text incorrectly or compromising the ability of the user to navigate without difficulty.

Why test the web browsers? Because the BPM user interface makes use of web browsers (thin clients) in order to display its content to the end user on their smartphone, desktop or tablet. This means testing numerous browsers and device types, while remaining cognisant of the continuous development done on each platform. The introduction of HTML5 and CSS 3 have added even more dimensions to consider. Why use browsers to display the interface? Using browser applications which are native to most devices requires less support from a company’s IT department and greater access to processes, your BPM software does not dictate your choice of device.

During the development of FlowCentric Processware 2013 the products user interface was approached as just that – a user interface. All through development the interface display was seen from a first-time users perspective as well as from that of an experienced users perspective.

The end result is not only a user interface which is attractive, functional and intuitive to use, but has also included some of the “nice to haves” that more experienced users have suggested.

The FlowCentric team have ensured that the user interface provides the maximum access to information, with most information being one click away or on a drill down menu. The user can remain on one screen for virtually all of their activities. The interface is well suited to mobile and desktop use, offering faster access and more concise information to all users.

It’s Not Too Big, Not Too Small, Not Too Hot And Not Too Cold
– It’s Just Right.

Software users have more options and more exposure to different interfaces than ever before. Users are increasingly aware of new interfaces, if you need evidence of this simply look at the newsfeeds on Facebook or Twitter when the providers make alterations to their interfaces. How many people complain and how many congratulate?

When it comes to software applications it is no longer acceptable to provide a user manual and expect people to read through it, one needs to ensure that the software clearly guides users through required tasks. Without an intuitive interface users will likely buck against using it and simply revert to the old way of doing business, thus causing your BPM project to fail.

Topics: BPM