Consumer Technology Points the Way for 'Intuitive' Business Software
Back Published 2009-03-31Cambridge, U.K. — March 30
The ease to use so carefully developed by consumer technology companies should point the way for business software developers, argues new research from Global Graphics, a developer of e-document and printing software.
UK plc loses an estimated 63 billion pounds a year because office workers find it difficult to use business software — the equivalent to a wasted 2.8 billion hours.
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of U.K. office workers say they have found business software difficult to use. The two most common complaints are that software applications offer too much functionality and a lack of training.
“Organizations invest millions on training their employees how to use business software. Yet, employees are using Facebook, MySpace, iPhones and digitalizing their music without any training at all,” said Gary Fry, CEO of Global Graphics.
The research also shows that office workers are frustrated that software developers are not putting in enough effort to make sure their software is easy to use. Far from suffering technophobia, office workers say that consumer technology such as iPods, digital cameras and games consoles are easier to use than technology in the office.
“Consumer technology companies make money by attracting as many users as possible and that means making products easy to use. By making business software as easy to use as consumer technology, employees are more efficient and less frustrated, while companies benefit from lower training costs and higher productivity,” argued Fry.
A surprisingly high 69 percent of office workers estimate they lose up to an hour every working week as a result of business software being difficult to use, with a further 23 percent saying they lose up to five hours every week.
The sheer number of different applications and the way different office applications work with each other is a prime reason for the losses. Office workers have to draw information from an ever-increasing range of sources, in a range of different and evolving formats. Yet, 56 percent of office workers say they would find it difficult to take pages of information from a variety of different file formats and combine them into a new document.
“The warning to developers of business software is clear: Take a leaf out of the consumer world and make your software easier to use. Make sure it quickly and easily does exactly what the user wants, and focus on that instead of adding more and more features and functions that only a handful of ‘power users’ will ever need,” cautioned Fry.