Imagine this: You are an IT pioneer working with a software development company to create custom software that will improve many processes in your business or your customers. You roll out the software, and… the product is poorly received. why? Due to all its bright colors and trendy designs, the program lacks user-centric functions.
The questions to ask are, what are the warning signs for a project that is neither Flash nor content, and what are the essential features of highly functional, user-centric software design?
There are many warning signs for a software development project that clearly prioritizes visual design over functionality.
One of the biggest signs, and a great way to check out the design, is employee sarcasm on your internal communication channels (like Slack or Teams). Once a new program is rolled out internally, a company’s IT leaders can measure its success by measuring how employees interact with it internally. Although they may not feel comfortable sharing their disapproval directly with IT decision makers, they certainly will not hold back from their informal channels with their co-workers. Cynicism, criticism, and negativity are incredible indicators of the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of a company’s new software product. On the other hand, silence on Slack should be considered a hit, and a sign that your software is actually useful and functional, not just pretty. When it comes to the user interface, there is no good news.
Another warning sign of a beautiful but ineffective app is when the design is “too trendy”. That’s not to say that on-trend designs are downright bad, but that these trends are fleeting and temporary in nature – and a good functional design must be built to last. There is innovation and popular patterns in user interfaces every year, but it always fades out eventually. Nothing lasts longer than a good user interface, allowing users of the software to feel that it is an intuitive product, designed to make their lives easier or better.
Instead of designing around the trend today, UI designers need to think more and prioritize features that have historically proven to be successful. This means focusing on simplicity, speed and ease of use. People who use the program will be grateful. Designers should aim for a simple color palette, easy-to-read typefaces, assured navigation, and clearly defined headers.
Functional User Interface Basic Features
But how do you balance a design that looks good and puts the U into the UI? Depending on the needs of the software, there are many ways to answer this question. It can be minimizing clicks, simplifying the layout, carefully coordinating different features, or designing with an accessible overall mindset. The most important thing is to get regular and final feedback from potential users about what they have to do with the system and what they like about other similar software. Let the user tell you what they want from the system and match that to the business goals of the application. The goal is to develop software that solves problems and improves operations. If your software creates new issues, it’s time to reevaluate and go back to the drawing board.
However, the only way to ensure that the software uses functional design is to diligently and frequently check the required workflow with the intended user base through each role. This should happen constantly at every stage of the development process. During the initial stages of development, send out surveys and focus groups to future users to gauge their priorities, needs, and opinions. These are the people who will use the software on a daily basis, and it is important to ensure that the initial design plans align with their vision and needs.
Then, with each stage of the design process complete, keep testing and checking the design with the people who will use it. Ask questions like: Is this easy to use? Does this feature make sense? Does this speed up operations? Is there anything superfluous in this process? What feature is missing? Not only will continuous testing save hours of time in the design process, but it also helps the designer step back from the process and see things more comprehensively.
Remember that humility is at the core of the user interface. Design teams should seek critical feedback throughout the process and should be comfortable making constant adjustments to their design. It will save IT leaders and CIOs a huge amount of money in the long run and ensure that the software is launched correctly the first time around.
IT leaders and UI designers should always remember that good design is nothing without good user workflows. Brands that focus on creating practical and intuitive programs will notice superior results to those that prioritize pure beauty.