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Please Don’t Change My User Interface

by Debbie Wilson  |  October 30, 2009  |  3 Comments

I find a strikingly curious conundrum happening in procurement automation.  There has been a well-known, long-term challenge with the usability of applications in e-procurement, e-sourcing, etc, and clients have begged for quicker screen refresh times, fewer clicks and more intuitive screen lay-outs.  But what I’ve observed recently is that when vendors try to respond to this – procurement complains.  Why?  Because they are afraid their stakeholders won’t like the new UI, problematic as the old one may be, it’s something they are used to.  So, the result is, buying organizations are often more likely to put off an upgrade that involves a UI change.  And the root cause for this?  I suspect that is the tendency of procurement to make usage of systems “voluntary” – and when users have to learn a new interface . . . well here is another reason why I strongly advocate that buying organizations require the use of procurement applications.

Category: e-procurement  transaction-enablement  usability  

Deborah R Wilson
Research Vice President
8 years at Gartner
15 years IT industry

Deborah Wilson, a Gartner research vice president, covers procurement strategies and applications. Her areas of interest include procure-to-pay, e-marketplaces, e-sourcing, spend analysis, services procurement and supply risk assessment. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Please Don’t Change My User Interface

  1. Isn’t a big reason for this because MANY organizations don’t bother with A/B testing, usability testing, etc.? Often times we make either/or decisions and sometimes we should allow our users BOTH options, old and new.

  2. No wonder why lots of our prospects specially the matured ones who have already used one or more procurement applications in the past have this question to ask- How have you ensured the usability of applictions? Slowly but surely organizations are realizing the importance of balancing technology with user adoption. This definitely puts the technologically advanced providers of Procurement apps who have been ignoring customers and focusing on mindless innovation

  3. Debbie Wilson says:

    I think for many vendors these are hard questions, especially when you may need additional functionality, improved presence AND a slicker UI? Where do you start first? I think one could make an excellent argument that the UI should come last – a decision that drives some of the UI issues we are seeing today.

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