Valentine’s Day is the day of love, sending flowers, cards, chocolates, maybe even jewelry to the person we love. Anonymous or not. We want to let that person know that we like him or her, hoping he or she feels the same way about us.
Now here’s a question: What makes someone attractive? Why is it that we are willing to spend time, energy, money on someone we sometimes don’t know very well? Is it their appearance, their style, their personality? It’s usually a combination of these characteristics and more. The way that person treats you, their perfume, their selflessness, their abilities for example. Most of these things we’re usually not consciously aware of, only in our unconscious mind, but without it, that person is just another person. With the right elements combined, the right genetics, that person could be the love of your life, your soul mate, the one you just cannot imagine a world without.
How does this relate to software?
With software, it’s always been about fulfilling the functional requirements of the end user. Creating the fastest, the most complete. What we know today is that’s not enough to be really attractive. So software creators started adding beautiful clothing and make up through newer user interfaces. Often however, that beauty is only skin deep.
In general, we don’t fall in love with a person who can run fast and looks pretty but smells bad and talks funny do we? Combining a whole variety of attractive qualities is the same principle we must apply when designing software. It is about the total experience the user has with their software. For example, if we downloaded an app with a fantastic looking first image, then discovered what was behind that was ugly and unhelpful, we would remove it right away. The User Experience (UX) matters a lot and therefore it is important that it is flawless. It is the whole package that makes a person like another person, and it’s the whole UX that makes a person enjoy their software.
If we liken software design to genetics, in order to ensure flawless design that runs throughout an application, it has to be designed from the outset. We need to understand the end user requirements and expectations from their software solution. The interaction of that person with the software has to flow and provide a seamless experience. All of the screens need to be understandable, recognizable and usable. The design of the software needs to be attractive, modern and simple.
Whether it is a smartphone app, software on a desktop or a wrist watch interface, all the elements combined will make software appealing. At UNIT4 we don’t need flowers, cards, and chocolates from our software users. We just want them to have a great day at the office.
Edo-Jan Meijer, Creative Manager at UNIT4