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Processes & platforms

Why simplifying business apps is key to a good user experience?


Who are enterprise resource planning systems designed and implemented for? The answer should be obvious: end users!


What then is an ideal business application from a user's perspective? The answer here is likely to be: one that has a simple user interface that anyone can use, functions smoothly regardless of location or device, and can be used with a keyboard, mouse, touch screen, screen reader and other accessibility tools on various devices such as PCs, tablets, or smartphones.


All of this may sound obvious, but how many people can honestly say they use such systems at work?

Good usability is often lacking in business apps

Usability is generally at a reasonable level for services aimed at consumers. Ordering from an online store or using mobile applications usually requires no instruction. However, in the business world, it’s still common to require separate training, user guides, practical experience, and support. 

In many off-the-shelf software products, most of the information and functions are unnecessary. Systems are designed so that theoretically they can do everything – but in practice, they can do very little because no one knows how to use them properly. At worst, a poor user experience leads to errors, extra work, and even hazardous situations. A poor user experience is always a result of poor user interface design and implementation, not the user.

A call to simplify things

Simplifying things is the key to an excellent user experience. A good user interface displays only relevant information from the user's perspective and guides actions logically so that the user always knows what they’re doing and what will happen next. Ideally, the use of systems and devices should be so intuitive that the user doesn't even notice it.

One way to simplify user interfaces is to use a mobile-first approach where interfaces are initially designed for small screens. This forces the designer to consider what information and functions are truly important to the user. Everything unnecessary should be left out, and less important things can be additional functions that are accessed when needed. After designing simplified mobile interfaces, it’s worth considering whether more complex functionality is even needed on larger screens.

Avoid complexity

Most users don’t want or need to know what happens in the system behind the user interface. However, system architecture indirectly affects the user experience through application performance and stability. To avoid technical problems and save costs, you should keep the system architecture as simple as possible.

The more complex the system environment, the more chances for errors and things that need monitoring. If the goal is simply to view and edit information in a specific system through a simple user interface on different devices, why should there be multiple servers and systems to move data between the backend and the user interface? Wouldn't one system be enough? Application development is also faster when implementation is done in one place.

The benefits of simplicity 

Careful planning of user interfaces, usability, and system architecture pays off multiple times throughout the application's lifecycle. An excellent user experience creates a positive cycle. When usability is good, users are satisfied, applications better support business processes, and less time is spent on using them. As a result, the system's utilization rate is high and there are fewer errors, leading to better and more reliable information in the system.

Because of these undeniable benefits, I will continue to fight on behalf of users and do my best to improve the user experience of business applications by simplifying things.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of a simplified user experience and get more out of your current ERP system, contact us to find out how we can create simple but powerful apps for your organization.