Getting to the bottom of a fresh user experience

We’re excited to announce that we’ve made eight fresh enhancements to Sage One intelligence that will improve your experience when using your favourite reporting tool! Before we get there though, we thought, as a small business owner, you’d like to know and understand the journey behind designing this fresh user experience. You may even discover a hint of entrepreneurial spirit in it.

How did it come to be?

Have you ever closely examined something that you use every single day? The most useful things in life are quite often those which we take for granted. For example, who ever thought of the design for a pair of scissors? Could you think of a better way for them to work? Why do we sometimes have a button and other times a switch, for example, why’s it a light switch and not a light button?

I’ll tell you why, it’s because the person who designed them carefully evaluated all the options, tried a few things out, and then gradually let user feedback evolve their product.

The same process is undertaken for designing software, only the evolutionary path is much shorter. This is because as technology consumers, we demand ease of use and practicality.

So, what do I, as a Product Owner and Sage solution designer, think of when creating and updating software? Firstly, there is a bit of ground work to cover.

Getting the context

Designing software requires the adoption of a completely new persona – that of our customer who is going to be using the software daily to help them achieve their goals.

Before designing the software or creating a fresh user experience, I accustom myself to the world of the person who is going to use it. I spend time on the phone, in face-to-face meetings, reading blogs and trending articles, all so that I can think like they think and do what they do. Luckily, I have been adopting the persona of a small business owner for some years now, so it’s almost second nature to me.

Now that I have the background, I can start designing

The design process starts with a blank white board; each step of the process is meticulously drawn out with clear notes articulating what’s required from each step.  Once I have all the points that I need to achieve illustrated, I can start reordering the logic of the steps. Just like a puzzle, I need to determine where’s the best fit for each piece.

What order should things be done in?

Just like plotting a course on a map, deciphering the best way to get to the end destination is an important step in creating or designing software. What is the clear and logical route to follow to achieve what I need to? Much like a road trip, sometimes there are detours and obstacles to consider, and when these occur, it’s necessary to have a plan in place to deal with them. Therefore, in software, you sometimes see pop-ups and wizards. These are put in place to help guide you through certain areas that may be tricky.

What’s the cleanest design for the screens?

Like they say, making a short speech is much harder than making a long speech. The same goes for software design. Keeping the interfaces clean and simple, while still delivering a powerful and flexible tool, is no simple undertaking.

So, my task is to remove, tuck away or disguise certain pieces of the software so that the screens are simple and easy to follow. The thinking here is along the lines of—how do I still get to the punchline of my joke without boring the audience?

What is the ultimate gauge of success?

My goal when designing software for small business owners is to reduce their time spent on figuring out the software and on administrative tasks, and to allow them to focus on their business. I strive to ensure that the reporting software I create gives them the exact information they need to make the decisions that are so crucial to the strategy and survival of their businesses. If the software I design or the new user experience I’m partly responsible for saves a small business owner 5 minutes a day, which is just over 30 hours a year that they can focus on their primary business activities, the software will be deemed a success!

And now for the moment you’ve been waiting for, what’s so fresh about the new Sage One Intelligence user experience? Here it goes:

  1. Standard Reports page: Here you’ll find the ready-to-use reports that ship with Sage Intelligence.
  2. My Reports page: Your copied, customized or imported reports will be saved here.
  3. Reporting options button: This button will make it quick and easy to create reports and folders.
  4. Re-naming reports and adding descriptions: Custom reports can be renamed and descriptions of reports can be added with a few clicks.
  5. Save reports to folders: When saving a new, copied, or imported report, you’ll be able to select which folder you want to save them to.
  6. Grouped Help resources: All Help resources have been logically grouped together in one easy-to-access place.
  7. Export to PDF: In addition to “downloading” reports to Excel, you’ll be able to export them to PDF as well.

These are just some of the handy new features that have been added. For more information and a quick guide through the new features, join us for a webcast taking place on Thursday, 21 September at 09:00am.

Register Now