Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, TJ Randall

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@ThingsExpo: Article

The User Interface Revolution Will Be Televised

Software application development teams must now balance UX-related usability along with a core devotion to true functionality

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

We all want usability, that's a given right? We exist in an enterprise world, but we want to behave as naturally as possible with all of the technologies and devices that we come into contact with every day.

The co-called ‘consumerization of information technology' suggests that we as users have adopted powerful devices for our home and personal use. These devices will in many respects out-perform those devices that we might be using or have used in the workplace.

The corollary or upshot of this reality is that workers themselves start to perform their work-related tasks more effectively if they are given a user interface that feels familiar. When we say familiar, let us be more specific - we are talking about making enterprise application user interfaces more attuned to those we might have found in consumer-style applications.

This (somewhat nauseatingly) is often termed part of the User eXperience (UX) factor that has become so crucial in all aspects of software application development and systems management as a whole.

What this means is that software application development teams must now balance UX-related usability along with a core devotion to true functionality. It also means they will have to balance the ROI needed to pull off the UX goals with the still-essential security (and compliance and governance etc.) requirements set by the IT department as they strive to create a user experience that employees will love.

The Hardest Chasm to Cross
One of the hardest bridges to cross here is the fact that the UX for most enterprise applications is formulated during the age when desktops ruled. This is of course no longer the case and we naturally talk about mobile-first as the defining factor, which must drive all application creation at every level.

While some of this discussion edges on the arguably rather fluffy borders of user experience design consultancy, there is a reality to embrace here and that is the fact that the user now becomes a much more dynamic force in terms of the way we build software applications. If that almost sounds stupid, then it should - and perhaps we should have been this responsive to users' needs years ago.

We know that optimal application design can help retain users, improve user productivity and lower customer service costs.

This truth means that we have to use another word that has been sullied by over-use in terms of PR spin and hackneyed repetition: intuitive.

Intuitive user interface design means being able to use an application well, of course, but what does it really mean?

Jared M Spool wrote a brilliant piece almost a decade ago now where here said, "To those who police the English language, interfaces can't be intuitive, since they are the behavior side of programs and programs can't intuit anything. When someone is asking for an intuitive interface, what they are really asking for is an interface that they, themselves, can intuit easily. They are really saying, ‘I want something I find intuitive' [to use]."

How to Make a Great GUI
The secret to making a great user interface great is complex. There are basic points to mention though: keep it mobile first, keep it consistent (so that users do the ‘same sort' of action on all pages of the GUI), keep it fallible (users make a lot of mistakes, accommodate for that factor), keep it conventional (there are many de facto standards that we are all used to such as a trash can for a delete action), keep it simple and ... perhaps most of all... keep it functional and personalized.

If we get all these elements right, well, even if we get most of these elements right or at least make sure that we have been thinking about them then there is every chance that our GUIs will shine and that this particular revolution will be televised.

It might end up being televised on a tablet or smartphone first, but the GUI revolution will be televised.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


CloudEXPO Stories
The dream is universal: heuristic driven, global business operations without interruption so that nobody has to wake up at 4am to solve a problem. Building upon Nutanix Acropolis software defined storage, virtualization, and networking platform, Mark will demonstrate business lifecycle automation with freedom of choice and consumption models. Hybrid cloud applications and operations are controllable by the Nutanix Prism control plane with Calm automation, which can weave together the following: database as a service with Era, micro segmentation with Flow, event driven lifecycle operations with Epoch monitoring, and both financial and cloud governance with Beam. Combined together, the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud OS democratizes and accelerates every aspect of your business with simplicity, security, and scalability.
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City. Our Silicon Valley 2019 schedule will showcase 200 keynotes, sessions, general sessions, power panels, and hands on tutorials presented by 150 rockstar speakers in 10 hottest conference tracks of 2019:
Every organization is facing their own Digital Transformation as they attempt to stay ahead of the competition, or worse, just keep up. Each new opportunity, whether embracing machine learning, IoT, or a cloud migration, seems to bring new development, deployment, and management models. The results are more diverse and federated computing models than any time in our history.
Andrew Keys is co-founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereum.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throughout enterprises of all sizes.