Aspire Solutions is a seasoned software development company with an 18-year history in creating innovative software systems. Recently, a persistent issue has caught our attention – the subpar usability of the software systems we encounter on a daily basis. This is a problem that really bugs us (pun intended). Think banking, insurance, medical aid, interaction with government and so on, these applications and platforms play a pivotal role. While a small percentage of them are enjoyable to use, and while another small percentage fall into the truly dreadful category, the majority resides in a gray area in between.
It is this majority that we wish to address. These systems almost lead you to your desired outcome, but suddenly veer into a dead end or leave you feeling lost. The frustrating aspect of these systems lies in the fact that they work reasonably well when you follow the straightforward path to your goal and everything functions as expected. However, when issues arise, they fall short. The error messages are cryptic and unhelpful, providing no explanation as to why something isn’t working or what steps to take next. For instance, you may receive a message stating “details not found,” without any context or guidance on how to proceed. Numerous other examples exist, such as generic error messages, instructions to click on elements that are nowhere to be found, or convoluted ways to navigate forward, backward, or sideways. Our relationship with software often oscillates between love and hate, with little middle ground. Consequently, even if the software is generally reliable, because people share negative experiences, the app or company reputation is tarnished.
We, at Aspire Solutions, acknowledge that we have also encountered such issues in our own system developments. It happens because, firstly, it takes a lot of effort to clean up all these scenarios. Often, the successful path is prioritized, and the remaining paths receive only superficial attention before shipping the product, as the deadline looms overhead. Secondly, the staff responsible for examining, testing, and checking the software may have become desensitized to these issues over time. They may forget that end-users, who are fallible humans engaging with the system, need clear guidance to navigate through it successfully.
Ther high bar is undoubtedly tough . However, we firmly believe that achieving superior usability is possible if certain conditions are met. Firstly, clients must recognize the value of investing effort and time to refine the system. Secondly, a team mindset must prevail, one that is committed to addressing every possible pathway within the software, not just the straightforward and successful ones. Testing should be conducted with the assumption that users are doing everything wrong and require assistance to accomplish their goals. Anticipating potential confusion or problems and proactively providing guidance to users should be ingrained in the mindset of all staff members, including system architects, developers, business analysts, and testers.
To the creators of the exceptional, top-of-the-ladder systems (you know who you are), we salute you for the tremendous effort you have invested in reaching that level of excellence. Your systems truly enhance our daily lives and make our experiences more enjoyable.
At Aspire Solutions, we continue to strive to embrace this mindset and create software systems that exceed expectations. We are dedicated to the relentless pursuit of user-friendly design, meticulous testing, and continuous improvement. By doing so, we aim to deliver software that not only satisfies our clients but also delights and empowers the end-users, ensuring their positive experience and contributing to their success.