When it comes to the appearance of software, looks do matter.
In the digital technology market, the aspect users most consider is usability. But if it’s functionality is the best on the market, but the appearance of the software is the inferior, will users still use it?
User Experience vs Usability
The user experience vs. usability argues that products don’t have to be beautiful to offer a positive user experience. While this applies to other facets, it does not apply to software. Visual (UI) Design is the use of imagery, color, shapes, typography, and form to enhance usability and improve the user experience. Looks absolutely matter when it comes to the appearance of software.
Throughout the course of digital transformation, the design of our technology has changed drastically. Everyone remembers the old computer screens; the block text and the grey windows start buttons. We have come incredibly far with today’s modern website and software designs.
The efforts put into the app interfaces dedicated to our personal lives are different from the ones used at work. Social and personal apps are beautifully designed. With individuals spending 45+ hours out of their 168 total hours a week at work; the physical look of the software should be as attractive as personal software.
Users will not purchase or implement software if the appearance is dismal and or difficult to understand. Unfortunate UI designs deter possible users. If someone is staring at it all day long, they are going to want to look at something they enjoy. Picture someone using your software as if they are sitting in an office. Would an ugly office that is not user-friendly foster the productivity you expect out of your user? Probably not. But if you gave your user a chance to change the area to their liking, making small changes, they are more likely to enjoy it.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so in terms of software, it’s impossible to have everyone think your software is beautiful or is it?
Offering customizable software, that gives your users different options to display or arrange their data increases its usability. Going back to the user experience vs. usability argument, you’ve just pleased both sides of the debate. Allow customers to change the color of the graphs in your software. Allow them to change the dashboard configuration in a way that benefits their business needs. Users pay for your software, allow them to do what they want to it to better fit their needs.
Customizability is Key In Digital Transformation
Offering customizable software also gives you the benefit of knowing what design trends your users prefer. Perhaps you begin to offer a dark UI after only having light, and you find that over half your users change to the dark mode. While you are fulfilling their preferred UI designs, it means they changed it to enjoy your product even more.
Henrik Thorvinger, Head of Product Vision at Telavox argues that our digital working environment is just as important as our physical one. He states “many of us spend our whole days in front of screens. The way we feel in our digital environment – the systems and software we use – has a huge impact on the quality of our overall working environment” . We are all aware of the negative side effects inadequate working environments have on our mental health, and it’s nothing to ignore. Thorvinger goes as far to say that “spending loads of money on beautiful office furniture while failing to realize the importance of user-friendly software, is a mistake that can be costly in the long run” . He states that individuals from younger generations have even less patience with tedious and cumbersome systems. Our past blog titled “The Impact of Generation Z on the Managed Services Industry” explores this topic more.
Coca Cola’s new Tokyo headquarters which opened in July 2016 , offers it’s employees a beautiful space to work. Employees that would rather bike to work have established bike parking. The new headquarters is full of natural light, and they have adopted co-working spaces which have increased in popularity . All of these changes have been expertly thought out, with the employee’s best interest in mind. Apply this to the software you offer. Granted users will not be parking their bike in the UI, but there are changes you can make for the best interests of your customers. It’s worth the time and investment in your users.
Where do you put in your development effort? In making your software customizable so the user has the final design say. You cannot read their mind, or please everyone, so give them something that works well and offers ways to customize.