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If you’re reading this, then there’s a very good chance that you use the internet every day. And in doing so, you’ve familiarised yourself with some common navigation elements. In fact, most of us make several assumptions about how a web page should look and behave in terms of layout, user interface and user experience, based on our experiences.
These unwritten standards are important as, if we don’t understand a web app intuitively, we become frustrated by what we interpret as poor design. For a public facing website this may lead to upwards of 88% of customers choosing a competitor, and for an intranet web app it may decrease user satisfaction. This is massively important – and sparked the birth of the A/B testing practice to get actual usage insights.
Industry leaders have realised this in part because of their open source efforts and projects such as Bootstrap and Material UI. We’ve seen something of a UI convergence in terms of how page elements and components look and behave. While some may find this standardisation a bit boring and unimaginative, it ultimately leads to quicker adoption times.
What we should remember is that every single user of an enterprise software system is also a consumer when they’re not on the clock. They have the same UI expectations and understandings while in the office. However, while consumer software UI’s have been streamlined, appified and personalised during the last decade, most enterprise software could not keep up with the UI makeovers.
Professionally, chances are you’re working in a powerful but complex UI, tailored for experienced super users. This is useful for the few that need the full feature set at their fingertips, but if you want to invite the long-tail of casual or intermittent users into your PLM system, a more streamlined and role tailored approach to their UI’s might help to win their acceptance.
Truth is, not every user needs all the toolbars and buttons – simplicity by streamlining could be a more pragmatic approach here. Take away unused functionalities and set up a scenario based, App-like UI that caters to a specific user group and allows them to fulfil their tasks in as few clicks as possible.
Casual or intermittent users may also consume or produce PLM data from locations other than the office more often than their super user counterparts. Sales representatives that need product data for their customer visit, buyers that want to register product candidates for the upcoming season or field engineers that take inspection rounds at the manufacturing plant, registering deviations with a quick mobile photo.
In such scenarios, and on touch screen devices, it’s even more important to provide a coherent and device friendly UI/UX – something familiar and simple. A smaller screen highlights the benefits of a modular, dashboard based UI where the most important data can be given prime screen real estate.
Users also expect offline availability of their data, native like usage of hardware like the camera and vibration, and familiar interaction patterns like swiping notifications to dismiss them or turning to the next or previous list page.
At TECHNIA, we drive our development of the Value Components software suite with all these PLM user acceptance factors in mind. Ease of use, device friendliness, performance even on unreliable networks and a widget-based UI that the user can rearrange and customise to their liking.
A streamlined, App like UI approach is the ideal way for you to welcome the users that work the most directly with your PLM data, whether it’s in a lab, a factory floor or the office, regardless of previous PLM experience. These employees might not know PLM to the full extent, but they know your business and your data.
So, to bring your true domain experts into your PLM system, reach out to us at TECHNIA to set up a workshop – to identify use cases suitable for streamlining, user groups that could benefit or simply PLM scenarios that you would like to fulfil on-the-go.
We’re so proud of TVCs that we’d invite you to ask our customers about their experiences working with us. Join us at the PLMIF Virtual Experience to hear customers’ stories and ask them directly about the benefits to their businesses.