Usability … Call For Action !!!
Everybody talks about usability, you can google usability and you’ll find 25,100,000 hits. Very impressing …
In my experience usability is one of the buzzwords if something feels wrong or if someone is not feeling comfortable, hence there is a call for action: we need to improve usability. Whenever you hear about issues with usability in the context of your product or project … listen carefully. Someone is calling for action …
Some perceptions of bad usability I came across and I’m sure you can add much more examples:
- The system needs a better usability, because I don’t like the user interface
- …, the functionality I need is not available
- …, the functionality is hard to access
- …, the performance of the system is not acceptable
- …, the performance is good, but I need to enter much more data than before
There are so many flavours how individuals define and perceive usability that you will never find the silver bullet with one new feature – sad, but true.
Let’s have a look at the international definition of usability provided by ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world’s largest developer and publisher of International Standards. You can find a standard for Ergonomics of Human System Interaction – ISO 9241 and there I would like to emphasize especially part 11:
ISO 9241 – Part 11 Usability:
The extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_9241#ISO_9241-11)
Keeping this in mind usability discussions should clarify upfront
- Which user groups/roles are we talking about?
- What are their goals?
- What’s the context of use?
You may think this is fundamental, that would be great!
So as stated before, there is no silver bullet, but there are ways to improve usability of your product and project. If you look at the features available with CRM 2007 (see Trade Promotion Management with SAP: CRM 2007 makes the difference (#3)) consider these as a toolset to increase usability, but be aware that
There is No: One size fits all.
Some thoughts/conclusions from my side
- Know the capabilities of your product and leverage them in the best way for each user group/role
- Implement user role specific screens
- Allow personalization (train the users, what they can do, and when personalization is useful)
- Default data where it makes sense
- Allow multi-select where multiple items can be added
- Reduce clicks, but only as a guiding principle not as a law …
- Think about the sorting of tables and search results
- Think about user’s hardware e.g. higher resolution allows more information to be arranged, more records in table and more attributes on the screen without scrolling
Again you may think that this is fundamental … 🙂
What are your thougts? How do you tackle the usability challenge? How can SAP software improve usability?
In this blog I did not talk about Trade Promotion Management, at least not directly. If you are interested in other blogs I wrote so far you can click here (/people/timo.wagenblatt/blog).
Thanks for reading – like always feedback and thought sharing is appreciated!