I’ve just spent the last three hours working with a awful application. It not that it’s a bad application – on the contrary it does what it claims to do but while getting from point A to point B you must pass a world of pain. The app has the default “battleship gray” look and feel – which is only acceptable if you’re in the army, doing the simplest task consists from at least four steps and my favorite of all – no keyboard shortcuts.
I have the feeling I know what the developers of this application thought to themselves – we’re writing a professional, hard core application that is going to be used by highly skilled and well trained users so we don’t need to make a beautiful UI – or maybe they just didn’t care.
Assuming they did care what might be the reason that they wrote all of the needed business functionality but didn’t back it up with simple – easy to add usability? I have seen it happen before you concentrate on providing the best application ever that you forget your users. When the time comes to create the UX you quickly stick together a poorly thought application and hope for the best.
This is ridicules – creating a professional looking application is not that hard – change a few defaults, add keyboard shortcuts and your users will thank you. With little paint you can make your almost-working tool into something that other people would want to try.
Even when creating a simple tool for internal use – think about your users, do you want them to fear and loath your creation – which means that they wouldn’t try new things and would come for you for help with every problem they encounter on the way.
Perhaps we should treat the user experience as a feature – and a technological debt that should be paid now or would come to bite you in the ass later on – and if that doesn’t work remember that your users can decide to use the competitor's tool instead – so treat them well.
I hope never to use such a tool again – unfortunately I know I will…