Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Its the usage, stupid

A rather young me as BA's PCHQ Manager.
Shame about the hair.
When I worked at British Airways, one of my main interests was user interface design and it has remained a passion for me ever since. If there's a 'first rule of user interfaces' it is not that we don't talk about user interfaces. Rather it is that the user interface should not get in the way of what you are trying to do. All too often it does, and I've had a good example of this recently.

I do my accounting use an excellent online package called Sage One. It is easy to use, makes doing my VAT returns and accounts a breeze and generally keeps me on top of my business finances. And being online, I can access it from any device, wherever I like. So far, so good. And up til now, when I logged in I went straight to my main account screen. Now, though, when I log in I get the screen below.

I then have to click on the Accounts button and I'm where I started before. It's just one extra screen, yet it is enough to be irritating. They have added in an extra feature where I can collaborate on my accounts with my accountant. This is fine, but I don't currently use it, and if I did, I would probably only do so once or twice a year. So they have made me go through an additional screen, almost always using exactly the same selection. I am inconvenienced maybe two or three times a day for something I will only use annually.

What they should have done is continued to go straight into the accounts screen and given an option, for instance in that menu at the top, to go to another module like Collaborate. (In fact I think this may even be what the 'Services' option does.) But instead, they have messed up their interface.

I have pointed this out to them and they are considering whether or not to make a change. I hope they see sense. After all, my user interface consulting is usually charged out at a considerable rate...

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