Image [cc] wikimedia

On Wednesday I had the pleasure of meeting with Tom Baldwin and Scott Preston to discuss LPM and general law firm challenges. One subject came up that triggered a repressed memory. Tom mentioned the importance of the users’ experience  – UX or UI (user interface) depending on your perspective – when seeking adoption of new technologies. Having a proper UI expert has proven to be so important that he has contracted to have some work not only on upcoming projects, but also review a few of their existing custom developed apps.

This comment triggered the release of a repressed memory from a recent software training I ‘experienced.’ The software in question is actually very functional. It may be the most functional in its class. However, the user interface is from 1990. One might argue that functionality reigns supreme, since that is what users really need form technology. But at a point in the training all of my frustrations came in to focus. For the umpteenth time, I watched the trainer go through the same 10 or so clicks to initiate a ‘new file.’ That task should really be one click. For the first portion of the training I was excusing the UI’s ancient look and feel, but then it occurred to me bad UI is also a significant productivity issue.

Add on top of that Tom’s note that user adoption rates are strongly impacted by UX and you have a compelling reason to employ a UI expert for every software project. I implore IT professionals to always make UI / UX a priority in your development efforts, even if it’s just a SharePoint update.

With that off my chest – I will re-engage my memory suppression efforts.