Gamification or Simplification: which path you will choose?
Why bother with either?
Why bother with either? Good question. Reason companies need to update user interface (UI) could be because internet/apps revolution in past years changed user expectation from ERP system. New users who are looking at SAP for first time are asking why is the user interface so difficult to navigate? SAP did a great job when they introduced ‘Enjoy’ transactions for MIGO, ME21N etc, but it’s been a while since anything changed for core SAP GUI functionality.
Again same question: Why bother? What’s point for upgrading UI? Reason is simple: “To increase users’ productivity”. Transactions performed per user have been increased in the past decade. Users execute same business process from different UIs like web browser, mobile apps, tablet etc.
These changes will fuel next round of productivity increase.
This is right time to move to the next level of UI, because users are performing business transactions from multiple devices/user interfaces like desktop, mobile, tablets, etc.
Gamification and Simplification
Here is my perspective of term gamification and simplification.
Gamification: using game like elements for non-game environment
• It’s about entertaining and engaging user with playful and interactive design
• It is level based or displays progress bar
• It provides incentive based motivation like points / badges
• It also provides ‘leader boards’ or ‘social status’ of gamer/user
Simplification: an explanation that omits superfluous details and reduces complexity
• It’s about simplifying/streamlining processes
• It’s about ergonomically designed consistent user interface
• It breaks business complexity into logical user process steps
• It includes Dashboards/cockpits
Common features of both approaches
- Intuitive interface
- Color coding that provides meaningful information
- Logical and consistent screen flow
Depending on business requirement, either one or both approaches can be applied.
Let’s take two business requirements and see which approach will be suitable.
Requirement 1: Update purchasing screen for buyer purchasing components for manufacturing end product
Buyers/Purchasing managers require information from many sources to show up on one screen. Simplification is better approach to satisfy this requirement. Buyer needs information for purchase requisitions in various approval stages with different priority. Buyer may have various contract negotiations with various vendors. Screen is designed as ‘buyer cockpit’ will help increasing productivity of buyers. Buyers also need tools for collaborating with vendors and employees inside organization. Design should allow user to setup various filters and trigger workflow. Buyer should be able to get information like stock, vendor’s purchasing history without leaving the screen.
Gamification is not correct approach because buyer needs information from many sources and information requirement on screen is different for every situation.
Requirement 2: Create tablet screen for warehouse equipment operator responsible for goods stocking and removal.
As a warehouse equipment operator’s information requirement is fairly simple like location, quantity, material number, and action (pick or stock). Gamification of screen will work better. For example: Location can be color coded with aisle number. Number of transfer orders on screen may be optimally designed for ease of readability. Different color coding or prompt schemas give visual clues to operator without the necessity to read precise details. Progress bar for remaining transfer orders can provide a great visual indication of workload to operators.
In essence, deep understanding of business and technical infrastructure is required for making either approach successful. Screen must be designed with right balance among different elements on screen to suite different users. Inapt design will reduce productivity and increase errors. After all, users will be spending most of their working day in front of these screens.
That’s it for now. Please share your thoughts and experience on gamification and simplification.
PS: Alas there is no road less travelled to take J