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Very simply, if you want your business process UI to be effective, what should it include?
Thursday, February 27 2014, 09:27 AM
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  • Accepted Answer

    Ian Gotts
    Ian Gotts
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    Thursday, February 27 2014, 09:44 AM - #Permalink
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    Screens and fields and stuff. Oh, and pretty buttons. Lots of pretty buttons. And if there is space a graph or two.
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    Thursday, February 27 2014, 09:44 AM - #Permalink
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    1/ Think end user first from the design to the production, and make regular usability tests with different users, from the digital native to your grand mother ;-) 2/ At the design level, think about the continuous improvements: how will you improve your UI after it goes to production? How will you collect feedback, and will you manage it to make more and more adoption of your UI to your end users ? 3/ Use a simple theme: if you look at applications that are very popular, it is not the one that are the more "sexy". E.G: Google, Facebook, Craigslist, Amazon... They are focused on displaying the information you are looking for, not on providing the best design. However I have to admit that the latest version of Google and Ebay are better than it was. 4/ Too much information displayed killed the information. Maybe you should think mobile first, focus on what is most important. And not display, at all, information you would have add for a desktop version.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Ian Gotts
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    Thursday, February 27 2014, 09:48 AM - #Permalink
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    But more seriously, the UX needs to the tailored to the audience. In an earlier question there was a discussion about the difference between the business and IT. I posted that there are 4 audiences for BPM. Business Users, IT, vendors and compliance. Each of these will have different needs. And the business users can be split down even more based on their knowledge and experience of the particular process, and what device they will access the information on. With a rash of elegant consumer apps that users experience every day, if BPM solutions are not at least as easy and intuitive, then they will be ignored and we will fail to get the wholesale adoption that BPM needs to be effective.
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    Thursday, February 27 2014, 10:26 AM - #Permalink
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    Do processes have user interfaces? I thought tools have.
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    Thursday, February 27 2014, 10:58 AM - #Permalink
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    Awareness of others It is a really simple concept so often overlooked or forgotten. The naive approach to designing a workflow describes the work of the organization like a machine: person A needs to do job A, then person B does job B, then person C does job C. We automatically route work to people, and they do their job. Keep your heads down, you don't need to know anything else. This is a naive (reductionist) oversimplification of what people do. The best way to explain is by use of an analogy to soccer. A naive process designer might describe soccer as one person taking the ball halfway down the field, then a second taking it to the end zone, and finally a third making a goal. That is kind of the view that you get from the TV camera following the ball. However, what is really happening is that while person A is bringing the ball, everyone else on the team is constantly moving and adjusting their positions in order to potentially be in a position to make a play. It is obvious that the entire team is playing all the time: if you don't have the ball, then you are preparing to receive the ball, or positioning to prevent an opponent from getting the ball. It is similar in the office: people are considering how much work is coming their way; they are preparing to do work; they are looking to see if important work made it the rest of the way; they want to know if George is going to have the time to complete all the cases that are in process. Person A needs to know how big person B's work queue is. Person C needs to know how many things persons A and B have on their plate. Person B wants to know why it is taking so long for a particular case. And everyone needs to know if people are out sick today in order to shift responsibilities around. This is not just a management task, but something that workers do naturally every day. In spite of the simplistic 'heads-down' model of work routed to people to do job, the real benefit of a BPM system comes when it can give awareness of where the work is, how much there, how well it is being processed, etc. In other words: Awareness.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, February 27 2014, 11:18 AM - #Permalink
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    When designing a user interface, I want the user to see only the information that is relevant to their job. They should be guided to their possible entries. Each and every company will have their own processes, so the user interface will be custom to each. My goal is that there should be no need for training. Obviously, the person configuring [hopefully configure vs code] will need to know the process and what each user is supposed to do at each step. When their task arrives in the Email, they should be presented with links to the information that they need to do their job. When they have completed their activities, the process should show that their activity has been completed and if they created any information it should be published into the appropriate repository [database]. Just my thoughts...
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, February 27 2014, 12:21 PM - #Permalink
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    The UI is the most important task in any process and here is what we do First every “form” is a custom template for that step in the process and is dynamically populated with the required information for the specific use recognising the user’s authority for the task in hand. The form should have a logical easy to use layout that reflects both use and input of data. Of course they should have intelligent look ups to speed routine decisions etc. New data should only be entered once and this includes on the same form so should incorporated “intelligent grids” which will automatically insert the new data on the same form as required. Forms should be able to handle “mash ups” data from multiple sources again recognised in build stage all part of the back office orchestration of data as required. Simple things such as working in memory should bring speed and flexibility. Other capabilities such as saving inputted data to allow completion in stages if required, escalation requirements should be catered for and an audit trail of who did what and when. But it is not all about data there should be a “text” box to cover notes ideas/”social” whatever that may be helpful for co-workers as the process moves through its various stages. It is all about the user experience so direct input and feed back in build always helps.
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  • Accepted Answer

    Thursday, February 27 2014, 05:13 PM - #Permalink
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    The first step is acknowledging you have a problem (see: Your Users Hate Your E-Forms). After that, it's mostly a matter of not confusing the role of somebody who can design processes with the role of somebody who can design a UI. If the same person is doing both, either (a) congratulations, you have an extremely talented staff member there, or (b) either the UI or the process isn't as good as it ought to be.
    • David Chassels
      more than a month ago
      Good point we always say the tool builds the functionality connectivity for required data as an integrated part of the end to end process but form "design" is the "glitz" or pretty buttons as Ian puts it to make it look good - this will be important when building a web page drawing in customers. But it will be the functional experience that will capture user buy in .......or not? We find internal users want it simple and functional as descibed and "no glltz" please!
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, February 28 2014, 07:38 AM - #Permalink
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    2 votes
    1/ responsive design 2/ customer-configurable dynamic forms 3/ follows the data model 4/ focused on the goal
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, February 28 2014, 01:09 PM - #Permalink
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    I think Bogdan nails it. Of course, I'm biased because this is the route we went down at BP3 :) We call it Brazos UI...
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  • Accepted Answer

    Tuesday, March 18 2014, 12:23 PM - #Permalink
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    I'll agree with eScott and ScottF above, but with a more direct answer. Q. What is essential to an Effective UI? A. That people eagerly use it to be highly productive in their tasks. Now to their answers which "make it so." Good, timeless overall design principles have been around for awhile - see attached. (I believe ScottF has referenced those in his own blogs on UI...) Good UI design principles have been around too, but are ever-changing. A better question is what will they be tomorrow - beyond the device - -- What will they look like? What will they do?
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  • Accepted Answer

    Friday, October 09 2015, 05:50 PM - #Permalink
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    2 votes

    A few principles should be followed:

    • consistency (same naming, same widgets, same manipulations)
    • fire and forget
    • drag and drop
    • adaptation to user’s level of agility
    • provide bigger view than inbox, e.g. all related future tasks
    • social-style communication in context of a particular task

    Thanks,
    AS

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