I recently gave a presentation on User Experience and BPM at Pegaworld, held a couple of months ago. One main message that ran through this presentation was the concept of simplicity and clarity being central to a successful user experience. Now while that is easy enough to understand in the consumer UI world, BPM applications are considerably more complex. At least, that what everyone seems to say they need to be.
The presentation was very well received by some very tough customers and partners in the room. These are people that struggle with making BPM magic happen daily. Why was it so well received? Because they understood that the UX principles of simplicity and clarity were design methods, and not characteristics of their BPM applications. Simplicity and Clarity, when executed properly can convey great depth.
Lets take the well known example of Google. Their homepage has one of the lowest barriers to entry out there. Basically a search field and a button. However, that simple UI shields us from the great complexity that is Google. When I think about all the products that they have introduced over the years, all the amazingly complex things they do, and still they manage to keep the UI simple. Not only that, but if you took a look at the initial Google UI from 16 yrs ago, you would see that it has actually gotten simpler. That is pretty rare in the UI world no matter what industry you are in.
BPM suffers from huge data bloat. Its almost by necessity. Any large company out there is not really 1 company. It is the homogenization of a number of companies that have been absorbed over the years to create 1 big entity. Along with that process comes customers, data structures, legacy systems, etc. You may have 20 different business groups all with the desire to have data on the screen. You have legacy systems of record that are dictating how data appears on the screen making it almost impossible to get everything to line up evenly and consistently.
While simple UI design is a necessity, to get there requires the hard and unsexy work of data design. You want your application to be simple and clear? You need to break the shackles of your data. These are themes that will be explored in the next few posts…