by Derek Singleton on 01/27/11 at 10:55 am
A while back, we hosted a survey to see which consumer web user interface (UI) theme they would like to see incorporated into business applications. We received 148 responses before we closed the poll. Here’s the breakdown of the results.
Respondents were most keen on eliminating the number of screens they must navigate to meet their goals. Understandably, users don’t like waiting around for page refreshes. We have to agree on this point; waiting for your page to load is so 1999. Of course, technologies like AJAX and lightboxes go a long way toward delivering on this need.
Respondents also signaled that business applications should have stronger search capabilities.
The Google Instant Search feature we suggested came in second place. This suggests that some users prefer text searches to navigation. Ideally, an application should offer intuitive navigation and free text search.
Supporting the old adage that less is more, respondents were keen on the idea of more white space in their web applications. Keep it simple! Easier said than done, we know from experience. However, based on the UI’s were seeing on modern SaaS apps, we think the industry got the message and we’ll be seeing far simpler UI’s with plenty of white space.
Surprisingly, the social media functions we suggested did not rank as well. Although Facebook and Twitter are wildly popular with consumers, respondents didn’t seem too concerned with incorporating these UI paradigms into their business apps. We suspect this will change over time.
Our poll has closed but we would still like to hear your ideas for improving the user interface of business applications. Feel free to drop us a line in the comments section below.
Derek Singleton is an ERP market analyst for Software Advice, a free online resource that presents reviews and comparisons of manufacturing software. For any questions related to this article, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.