Insights from Orion Group

End-User Experience

When you sit down to work with your core business application, do you love it or hate it? Chances are, at some time in your career, you really hated an application or two. They were anything but intuitive. Even after hours of training, you were slow to learn the ins and outs and peculiarities of the package. And when you wanted to do something urgent – another frustrating experience.

One of the reasons Microsoft software has enjoyed its phenomenal success is the significant amount of work and research Microsoft has undertaken to improve the look and feel of its applications. By presenting a similar look and feel for all its applications, Microsoft has endeavored to make the end-user experience an effective one.

Over the past 30 years, other companies have tried to establish their own standards for the look and feel of their software suites – with mixed success. Apple has a loyal following. Salesforce has established its standards. But it’s safe to say that because of Microsoft’s dominance, the Microsoft look and feel is enjoyed by the majority of computer users. Consequently, companies selling development tools, like DevExpress, enforce Microsoft look and feel rules in their development frameworks. A software developer, using the DevExpress product set, will create applications with the Microsoft products look and feel.

Why is this important? First, time spent defining a look and feel for clients will be minimized, which will result in lower cost applications. Second, significant training dollars are saved for clients already familiar with Microsoft Office. One financial services customer recently exclaimed when reviewing a prototype that, “this looks just like Outlook!” Third, because of Microsoft’s familiarity, end users are much happier, accept the change, and are more productive sooner.

So as a business leader embarking on a new software development project, ask your developer about the importance of look and feel. Evaluate whether or not they’re focused on providing the best end user experience.

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