Requirements & the User Interface

When you are gathering requirements for any software project [including product lifecycle management software], a major focus is on what the software does and how the user community accepts using it.  I can’t overstate how important the user interface is.

The User Interface

To the user, the user interface is what the software looks like.  When talking with users about software, their only interaction is through the user interface.  The software may do what it is supposed to while the user community hates it because it is difficult to use.

Through the years, I have seen that it only takes one user hating the software to derail the project.

UI Requirements

The user community has a job to do.  They know how to do their job.  They have a daily routine [process] that they follow.  When you introduce new software to them, it requires them to learn something new and often changes how they do their job.

You bought the new software to make your company run more efficiently.  In order to achieve this lofty goal, you need the new software to be accepted by your user community.

When it comes to a user interface, if you need to see a user’s guide to use the software then it is too difficult.

Tips for Success

Improve your odds for success by addressing the following:

  • Minimize any changes for the users to their job so they only have to deal with new software.
  • Ease of Use – Customize the user interface so that the only things they see on a page are the things they have always dealt with. Hopefully, the user interface will simply walk them through what they have always done.  Minor tweaks are OK.
  • Change the labels on the user interface to your company’s language.

Change over Time – When they are accustomed to the new software, you can make changes to the process to become more efficient.

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