User versus Software vendor

DO NOT PUSHIn a previous article I expressed my dislike for Silverlight from a pure user perspective, features and functions were just not relevant because my user experience just was bad. The article got challenged by Eddy who came forward with some valid arguments pro Silverlight. He is one of the founders of Qics a vendor of great feature rich enterprise software products. I've a background at  Exact, another company that creates great enterprise (or at least business) software products and I can fully understand his arguments. However there is a lot more going on.

The user versus the software vender is a hate love relationship. 

Enterprise software usually does not sell to the end user, so why would it be designed for the user? Feature requests are the main influencers of product roadmaps, the user experience becomes often an after thought. The reason of this is that a feature can be put on a price list, are sellable and you can easily create a positive business plan with a good return on the investment. The overall user experience is for people who are no active voice during the sales process, so why would you do this.

Stuff enterprise software considered normal
  1. The only supported browser is Internet Explorer. 
  2. You need to enable your popup blocker for this site, otherwise it doesn't work. 
  3. The famous yellow bars in IE with some kind of ActiveX control being installed.
  4. There are x updates for your system, you need to restart
As a user I
  1. Want freedom of choice for my favorite browser, or even better I want freedom to choose a device I like. 
  2. What is a popup blocker? And if I happen to know what it is, I surely don't know how to turn it off.
  3. Don't bother me with the installation questions, I don't know what to do with it anyway. Do what you want as long as I don't notice it. Just don't interrupt my work process.
  4. Ok, I understand updates are necessary, but not now while I'm busy. You are disturbing me.
I'm happy I do see a change and there is definitely improvement on it's way. Users, with the help of social media, have become more verbal and enterprise software vendors start to realize the importance of creating excellent experiences. 

The social web and e-commerce is leading the pack with business software vendors still lacking behind. It's time to shift the top priority on the roadmap to the user and add features only when excellent experience can be maintained. In the debate user versus technology I will always take the position of the user, because too few people do so. I will challenge the engineers to do better, because I know they can do better than we have seen until now. 

Are you struggling to deliver better user experiences? Contact me and I might be able to help you.


UX follows software distribution business model.

Client Server application vendors have expensive distribution costs. Sales and marketing focuses on the executives making purchase decisions, the user experience is last.

Internet applications allow distributed costs of nearly zero. Sales and marketing focus shifts focus to decision making by users and user experience really counts.


Funny that you mention Exact. If there's 1 vendor that for ages refused to see that there were other browsers then Internet Explorer, it is Exact. But it's true. Users shouldn't be bothered with tech-stuff. They want to do their thing with the software, whatever that thing is. If they were intrested in the tech-part, they wouldn't want to do their thing :)

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