Interesting post over on Dennis’ blog about design. He quotes some peoples perspectives on whether UI is an important attribute for an offering. In relation to enterprise UIs, Natalie Hanson says;
For the most part, an EUI doesn’t have to win over its users. An employee is essentially trapped – they need to get their job done, and there is only one system available to execute their work. So for business systems, we may not see poor UI reflect in adoption statistics, but the problems will show in time-to-task completion, data quality, or lack usage for non-required tasks
Which I agree with – the fact that enterprise solutions are generally decided upon from on high, leads to a degree of entrapment and the acceptance of a poor experience.
Dennis then comments that;
I’m surprised. In the SMB world, users do not tolerate poor UIs. They simply eschew the products
Which is interesting given some previous posts here about UIs and whether they really matter. The fact is that I believe that Dennis is wrong when he says that SMBs are any less trapped than enterprises – the pain to change for an SME is similar to the inability to change in an enterprise – so the bottom line is that while UIs matter, they matter most when getting folks to sign up to your offering – thereafter your UI could look like a cross between the back end of a bus and the awful face of your first grade teacher but you’d still persevere.
Don’t agree? Just have a look at the mass market around you!