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Can anything good come from the user interface?

For the IT team that develops business applications, isn’t the UI the humblest and least interesting part of software? And for the typical UI practitioner, isn’t being a UI practitioner occasionally a humiliating experience? I’ve even heard a UI group head (VP of a US product company) say this at a conference: “I’ve been bruised and battered.” Haven’t we heard that when employers downsize, UI practitioners are often one of the first they let go?

More importantly, for the enterprise that invests in IT, isn’t the UI often one of the major pain areas? Enterprise staff struggle, lose productivity, and even stop using apps on which hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent. And to confirm, hasn’t Forrester Research reported that software products from even the top companies are poor on basic UI quality factors?

If so, isn’t the application UI actually a source of pain?

The answer is “NO” if the UI is viewed and implemented as business process. Decades of viewing the app UI simply as an interaction medium has pushed this important process element to the sidelines.

Yes. The app UI is business process.

Now, what GOOD can come from the UI if it is viewed and implemented as a business process? In IT initiatives, these are the basic benefits:
  • Process-UI alignment
  • 100% to 200% user productivity gains (over applications architected using traditional approaches).
These are advantages for the enterprise that invests in IT to achieve specific process performance objectives. And rightly so … don’t you think?

Originally posted in WordPress on January 21, 2008

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