As soon as a new client approaches your company and asks your team to design a custom software program, your employees might be bubbling over with excitement. Instead of attentively listening to the customer's needs and trying to understand the workflow, your team might be trying to think of ways to make the product innovative, exciting, and marketable. However, if that software will contain a user interface, your team should keep these two things in mind:
First impressions count, even when it comes to something as simple as a software program. When you finally finish all of that coding and your product is ready for customers to try, the way the program looks will leave an impression with your customer that can dictate their overall experience.
Believe it or not, research has shown that over 45% of consumers make judgments about software and website credibility based on design. That means that if your product doesn't look appealing, customers might assume that it won't be reliable. Also, since customers tend to make judgments quickly—within about 3.42 seconds—your start-up screens and initial menus will need to be attractive. If you are hoping to guide the user into a different screen, think again. That initial impression could change the way the user feels about the product from the first time they use it.
To improve your customer's perception of your product, take the time to understand their design aesthetic. Ask about things like colors, type fonts, and product layouts. Also, ask if any of the users have special needs or disabilities. If users will be viewing the screen from a strange angle or trying to read text from a distance, you might need to adjust your design. During the development process, have several different users evaluate your program. That way, if you spot problems, you can adjust them easily along the way instead of overhauling the entire project later.
Ensuring that your software works and that the interface is attractive is only one part of the puzzle. Your developers also need to remember that the product needs to be efficient, user-friendly, and easy to navigate. If your client has a difficult time using the software, they won't be as confident and they might not appreciate your careful programming. To avoid efficiency problems, always check for these things during the development process:
- Ease of Making Errors: When your program is in the testing stages, check to see how easy it would be for users to make errors. For example, if you are designing an ordering program, could users inadvertently order pallets of products instead of single items? Checking for issues might help you to add special safeguards that will keep your customers happy.
- Missed Opportunities: Make sure that your interface is easy enough to understand that users would be able to use the program to its full capacity. For example, don't hide sub-menus that users would need to access frequently, even if it looks better without them there.
- Slow Response Times: People these days are used to getting the information they need in seconds, which is why the speed of your software program matters. Keep in mind that 25% of web users abandon pages if they don't load within 4 seconds, and that 86% of customers delete applications that don't perform well. Try to use the program like a user would to see how quickly it loads—especially if you have charts or other information that loads from the web.
By focusing on your software program's user interface, you might be able to create a program that people will cherish—and that you can continue to develop in the future. Go to sites of software development companies for more information.