App makers need to recognise a new way of thinking and working on mobile and tablets: “Does it make my life easier?” Alister Esam, CEO, BoardPacks, looks at the usability challenges facing a new generation of users.
Debate continues to rage about the challenges of assimilating the next generation into the workforce, the way in which this ‘born to iPad’ generation will respond to the clunky business applications that still dominate the experience in most companies today. For those brought up on the intuitive user experience delivered by innovative, Apple inspired App developers, the lack of sophistication and – most bizarre – requirement for training associated with traditional applications will be anathema.
Yet there is another generation to look to; one that is still – quite wrongly – perceived as technology averse. From Directors to Trustees, senior management have a fierce approach to technology: “Does it make my life easier?” If not they simply will not use it.
While it is still – just – possible to impose difficult to use software on the rest of the business, those in a position of power can and will resist. They are not, however, in any way technology averse. They have actively embraced mobile and tablet technologies, are avid App users and will wholeheartedly adopt any business solution if, and only if, it delivers real benefits in productivity and collaboration.
This is where consumer style business technologies that truly exploit the iOS, Android and Windows thinking are transformative. Business applications need to recognise the new way of thinking and working on mobile and tablets. They must understand and incorporate the improvements in information flow and the accessibility of those information flows to deliver those essential improvements in speed and usability that are critical in today’s time constrained environment. They must also recognise that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies – and cross platform applications – are an essential component of any business application deployment strategy.
Of course, it is not easy – addressing complex areas such as risk management, for example, continues to throw up challenges. But every day brings a change and an innovation that removes one of the limits or constraints and enables business software developers to step closer to that highly sophisticated and intuitive user experience irrespective of complexity. The challenge is not technology but culture and attitude.
From experience-led technology development to user-driven technology procurement, an extraordinary change is in progress and is fast eradicating technology resistance, improving efficiency and, critically, delivering measurable economic benefit across every generation.
By Alister Esam