Software Usability

A checklist of how to make bespoke software enjoyable

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8 Key Aspects of Creating User-Friendly Software

In a technology landscape that is becoming increasingly dominated by artificial intelligence, we’re proud to say that we write code for people. Actual people in real jobs, who need software to increase efficiencies, productivity and enjoyment. 

The mark of quality software is often a result of its usability. At Clever Software Group, our software developers work with the system users at the very start of our software design process. It’s vital that we can understand how the people using the software need it to work for them. Ask them how technology can help make their working life easier. 

So, what exactly is software usability?

Usability doesn’t just refer to software being functional. It more accurately refers to software which is purposeful and meaningful to the person operating the system. Software usability is all about delivering efficiency and satisfaction to the people the software has been built for. Simple.

We believe that the very best bespoke software is built with people in mind. From asking users what they need to complete their job effectively, to getting them actively involved in testing , implementing and championing the software throughout the business. 

In no particular order, here’s a checklist for how we ensure our bespoke software developments are enjoyed by users. 

1. Seamless interactions

As they are built from the ground-up, the way that bespoke software developments work can be very much defined by the user. User-driven developments focus on functionality and ensuring interactions are as simple and seamless as can be. Minimising user effort as much as possible; the software must work quickly and reports generated rapidly. 

A complete user workflow is mapped out during the software architecture design process using wireframes. A wireframe is a basic framework, without any branding or styling. Dynamic wireframes are used in bespoke software development to determine an intuitive, logical structure, placement of links, and all the elements and familiar functions users expect to see. Iterations of this process will be needed; working with the users to ensure the structure is efficient. It takes time to evolve simple interactions out of a complex system. 

2. Intuitive 

Ease of use is paramount in user-driven software design. From the beginning and throughout, we ask, can the software be navigated comfortably, naturally? Even though we are creating a unique new software system, we aim to ensure that what we deliver is familiar. Use of branding, icons, terminology, process, buttons which perform predictably, that all makes sense to the system user. 

Software developers aim for the workflow to be so intuitive to the person’s job role and device they are using, that little explanation is needed. 

The programming we do behind the scenes can sometimes look other worldly; too complicated for words. Our job is to make the complex simple; to make the user interface straightfoward. To allow the user to effortlessly immerse themselves into using the system.

Sometimes we work with people who have only had a paper-based system or are devoted to their spreadsheets. People who may not be that tech-savy. So, our software developers are tasked with making sure using the software is straightforward, perceptive and that the user feels like it’s second nature in next to no time.  

User Experience Wireframe Diagram

3. Efficient 

One of the top success factors of a bespoke software development is efficiency. Can the software save time, and reduce costs? Software is predominantly developed to make business processes faster, and productivity greater. If your software achieves more with less input, then it is ultimately more efficient. 

We also believe that achieving efficiency for people means delivering greater job satisfaction to your team. For example, freeing up time for them to focus on their personal development and to dedicate more time to tasks such as decision making. Empowering people to achieve more. 

4. Simplistic design

Styling isn’t everything, but it is something that impacts upon the user experience no less. UI software designers are amazing at weaving your company branding into the product’s look and feel. Their attention to detail is so important in aiding readability and drawing attention to key features.

However, before designers even think about colour palettes, their tougher task is to ensure the design, no matter how complex the system, is clean and well organised. That each UI element serves a purpose. Using visual grid layouts, for example, will enable the user to see the majority of the information they need at a glance. 

User Experience design looks to remove the barrier between a person using technology, and focuses on the best way for the user to directly complete a task or a goal.  

5. Reliable

It goes without saying that your business software needs to be robust; to work competently, without crashing or system failure. Software developers must also pay particularly attention to ensuring your system works well in your business environment. Building software for on-demand use anytime, anywhere. We would also focus on ensuring the software integrates with your other systems and IT infrastructure. 

During the design process, software developers must take into account all the many dynamic demands the system will experience. Focusing on performance indicators such as upload speed and connectivity. The system needs to be simple to install for new employees; updates need to be easy and hassle-free. 

Similarly, the system will be regarded as reliable if it’s easy to maintain; if reporting bugs is straightforward and that software developers react quickly and effortlessly to anything that may go wrong. 

6. Responsive

When using any kind of digital system, no one wants to wait for something to happen on screen. It’s important that software users have a system that reacts instantly to their actions; that the system immediately loads up every morning; that data is quick to export.

Software developers like us must also consider how the user interacts with the device in their work environment. For example, if surveyors work on site, they may use tablets more than desktops and require the software interface to be touch screen for ease of use. The software must work as well on tablet as it does on desktop, making content easy to locate and communications free-flowing. 

Operations Software In Use by Worker at Factory

7. Interactive

All software is interactive. However, software developers must also consider how the software engages with and reaches out to the user. Making helpful troubleshooting hints and tips readily available, or messages that pop up when an action is completed correctly.

Although most business software systems aren’t enhanced for AI assistance just yet, it’s important that a two-way dialogue is created in other ways. Likeability is key here, ensuring the software is as friendly as a workmate at helping you out.

8. Enjoyable

If all of the above points are well executed, then there’s little doubt that the people using your business software are going to enjoy the experience. 

Traditionally, software usability was all about making software easy to use. And that’s still at the heart of it. However, our bespoke software development team are also tuned into how software makes people feel. What is the outcome of their user experience? 

How you feel about using a piece of software will dictate how well you are able to use it. If you are confident that you have software that can save the day, everyday, then you’re likely to get more out of using it.

Achieving software usability is a key success factor for our software developers 

Making bespoke software systems which are user-friendly is not just one part of the development; it’s integral throughout the process. Engaging with the system users is fundamental to software developers achieving software usability and likeability.

Discover more about our approach to bespoke software development and user-driven design here

Stanley and Strong

Stanley and Strong

Client Stanley and Strong is a London based firm of Party Wall Sureyours with experience in residential and commercial surveying. Together we developed a clever web based workflow and project management tool to manage the complex administrative Party Wall procedures.

Read Client Story

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