Why doesn’t vanilla = usable with intranet applications?

Thanks to everyone who read or made a comment on my last posting ‘Why are intranet applications so difficult to use?’.  I now realise I’m not alone!

So, we know we have a problem.  As Steve Ellwood pointed out, we must have missed the training to use Amazon.  And that’s exactly the point.  We don’t need training to use internet applications so why should we have to to use intranet applications?

When will software vendors realise that customers are reluctant to keep paying for upgrades to the version they use because of the huge amount of time, effort and money customising ( making it more usable really) the version bought to get it to do what the customer needs it to?

As customers of software vendors we want to buy an application that comes out of the box and does what we expect it to do.  This is what I know as ‘vanilla’ applications – no customisation needed.

If a vanilla application was usable then there would be no need for any customisation.  Even if it meant a little amount was needed that took little time and effort that would still be acceptable.

We will be far more willing to pay for upgrades because we had saved on not having to customise it.  Software vendors wouldn’t have to spend so much effort trying to persuade us to upgrade either.

All it needs is one major software vendor to break ranks and change their approach by involving real business users in their new upgrade and they could gain a huge competitive advantage by saying vanilla = usable with their applications.

After momentary disbelief by customers I think there could be a stampede to that software vendor!

Vanilla = usable applications.  A ‘win win’ for vendors and customers?

3 responses to “Why doesn’t vanilla = usable with intranet applications?

  1. Agree. I have always wondered why companies (including my own) are willing to pay for usability testing an iterations of the design to ensure that customers have a fabulous experience, but don’t seem to think that their own employees, i.e. the ones they pay per minute for, deserve the same time-saving, helpful, clear delivery of functionality. I have heard managers state that they really don’t care if their PA spends 2 minutes or 12 minutes finding something on the intranet. They are unimpressed by aggregates as well (12 minutes times 5000 employees x 520 days = etc etc). So usability is not high on their radar, and they glance at the salesman’s demo and think ‘this’ll do’. What would it take to change their thinking — a staff walk-out?

    • Caro,

      Yes! Isn’t it worrying what double standards we can apply to what is a good customer experience for people who work to help the customers?

      It is who decides and the process used to make sure usability one of the steps that needs approval – ideally by intranet managers – when the salesman’s demo is completed that is key.

      This will be my pet subject for the next blog posting again. I hope you find it helps.

      Mark

  2. Pingback: Oracle, can you improve your poor usability please? « Mark Morrell

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