Earlier this week in a post about streamlining engineering with custom software development, I discussed how lack of scalability and poor planning can mean the failure of a great engineering idea when it comes to creating small in-house applications which are based in Excel or the like. But as I got to thinking about it more, I also realized a poor user interface can have a lot to do with the failure of an engineering software development project. The reasons for this are twofold:
It’s a Productivity Killer
Many applications created by engineers have little, if any, user interface (UI). A lack of clear operation or marked buttons can result in one big time-suck for this would-be programmer. As people catch on to the existence of the application, the application’s creator has to spend more and more time explaining how to use it or fixing bugs, and not nearly enough being productive and getting his or her own work done.
If this was an engineer working at your company, is this how you would want them to be spending their time?
It’s Missing Functionality
When engineering software is created with a purpose and a plan by software engineers, the user interface not only becomes easier to use, it can also provide an incredible level of extra data manipulation and visualization ability. Where before extra analysis would have been required to answer follow-up questions from clients, charts that allowed an engineer to hover over data sets and drill down for more information could provide answers on the spot. And because they can quickly run analyses and more easily manipulate data, your engineers will see a big productivity boost.
This extra functionality means your super smart (and highly paid!) people spend less time waiting around or performing data entry a lot more time providing the value computers can’t, in the form of engineering insight.
Find out more about what this looked like for one Entrance client right now in an engineering software development case study!