Business users will no longer adopt your software applications just because “It works.” There’s too much competition out there to rely just on solid code and endless expandability options. Consumers want more.
Now features like ultimate ease-of-use and installation, intuitive design, minimal downtime, cloud and online capability, uncrackable data security, and most of all; above-the-board customer service, are all on the list of expectations business users have from their software providers.
If you don’t build software that people actually enjoy using and trust implicitly, the software hall of shame is the only thing your beloved idea will be remembered for.
Make it simple to use, yet powerful
This is much simpler to do than most designers will allow themselves to think. Nearly all designers are taught to over-complicate, rather than simplify during their training. This is understandable, since most coding involves giving the users as many options as possible. Particularly when designing option-intensive software like word processors, spreadsheets, accounting – and designer software like those used in architecture, web design, and photo editing.
However, it’s up to you and your team to create software with an interface that’s uncluttered and easy on the eyes for your business consumers. There’s nothing wrong with having a gazillion options, but those options have to sit in the background within sub-menus and not get in the way if a user just wants to use only a few key options.
To make sure that your software doesn’t disappoint user, you should focus your software development effot on doing user acceptance testing (UAT) – or better known as beta testing – to see how your software is performing in the real world. You can do the test in-house or do so by releasing the free trial version on the web.
Create intuitive software that requires little training to use
For an example, look at the difference between the simple, visually appealing, and user-friendly online free photo editor Pixlr, which is so straight-forward any novice could use it to edit photos. Yet, there’s also very little the web-based editor can’t do at the same time.
Compare that software platform to conventional editors like Adobe Photoshop and Gimp, and you’ll notice the difference.
While both have improved with age, doing something as simple as resizing a picture for a blog requires research and/or training to accomplish for the untrained user. Make sure customers have lots of options in drop-down menus and easily accessible contextual buttons that are strategically placed within their workflows to maximize productivity, and reduce downtime spent searching help menus and forums.
Design business software that’s cloud-capable, yet still offline
This one should be obvious, but many designers, particularly in the SaaS world, have failed to effectively provide for their business customers over the last few years. Customers want connectivity and instant share-ability of their data, but they don’t want to feel shoe-horned into always needing a data connection to use software they deem essential to their work.
Once the cloud became a household name, many designers started building software for exclusive use on their online servers, forgetting that even the busiest of professionals still like to disconnect in order to maximize productivity by eliminating online distractions. Don’t fall into this trap – let customers use their software in the cloud, but also allow for offline use and laser fast data-syncing ability when they reconnect.
Build the software to be easily deployable to multiple users
The whole software CD/DVD model is so outdated. “Hey, 2001 called and they want their install disc back!” It’s time to ditch physical copies of your software and instead offer digital options that allow business customers to deploy their software apps to their employees with total ease.
This obviously won’t apply to web-based apps, but anything that requires a user to install software must be as easy as possible. Otherwise, they’ll simply look elsewhere. Consider a multitenancy architecture model as the only smart option for deploying software to your customers in 2017 and beyond.
Top-notch security is essential to the long-term success of your business software
Data security is the primary driving force behind your software app. Quite simply, clients don’t want the headaches or hassles that come with security issues in the apps they purchase. They want to know it’s there and that it’s reliable, yet have little to no obligations with regard to protecting their data against corruption while using your software.
Some of the most ingenious data hackers who’ve ever existed are scouring the interwebs looking for ways to breach servers and steal invaluable consumer data. What worked yesterday may not be relevant today or tomorrow. Customers who use your software want you to take the brunt of the responsibility and have your software built and maintained with the utmost in modern security measures.
Integrated customer service a must
To build the very best business software that your customers will actually use, customer service should adopt more of a push-button, rather than dial-a-phone approach. Users don’t want to deal with the hassle of call centers and wait times in order to solve simple problems like login errors or usability issues.
Offer a “Can I help?” window with a direct connection to a human being where they can type or verbally ask a question and get an instant response. Forcing a client to dial your phone number and wait for help is so outdated in an age where instant connectivity is considered a must and not a bonus feature.
If you have any suggestions of your own on how to build the best business software in an age where there may be more options than consumers someday soon, leave a quick comment down below and share.