I spent a couple of hours yesterday previewing an optional module of a mission-critical tool used at the University. If purchased and implemented, it would replace a custom, troublesome, and neglected proprietary tool. The tool seems like it would be a perfect match, especially considering its functionality meets our needs.
Then we saw the user interface. Oh. My. Gawd.
The vendor has a mobile app that reproduces the tool’s core functions. It is clean, simple and intuitive. The desktop app? Not so much. The interface consists of a jumbled and confusing array of windows, buttons, checkboxes, and pull-downs unhelpfully labelled with copious amounts of text.
Professional, full-time staff with proper training, continuous exposure, and frequent use should be able to master and use the app. Uniformed security guards and minimally-engaged student staff? I’m not sure if implementing this solves more problems than it creates.
If the desktop team has a UX (user experience) guy, they need a new one. I suggest the mobile developer. End users will no longer settle for horrible design now that they know what has been made possible with mobile apps.