Single User Experience

You’ve decoupled your enterprise architecture and implemented a service-oriented approach that makes use of business process management and single sign-on. So, now what?

Your using rich internet applications and making use of Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies. So what now?

Leading companies have already begun work on developing “Single User Experience’s (SUE)”. SUE takes the approach that the application is specific to an individual users specific needs, and not an all purpose applications used by many different users for slightly different purposes.

For example, take the word processor: with it you can create documents, letters, fax sheets, memo’s and various other formats of what are essentially documents. However a word processor presents the same options and user interface irrespective of what type of document you create.

It’s no wonder that research has identified that most people only use less than 20% of a word processor capability and virgin users face a steep learning curve.

In the context of SUE a word processor would change it’s menu’s, icons and actions specific to the type of document you are working with or to the type of documents you work within a single context (at home you mainly use one for letters, whereas work mainly for structured documents).

Thus access and ease of use of the tool becomes greatly honed and much more efficient as you do not have to plough through hundreds of irrelevant options.

The concept of SUE can take in many factors to create a more efficient and dynamic interface e.g.:

  • Role: The purpose of your use of the application e.g. Secretary, Author, Researcher, Student
  • Context: The purpose of your use of the tool customer enquiry, sell to a prospect, or provide information to a collegue
  • Channel: The device the application is being accessed from e.g. mobile, PC, Kiosk, Call Centre
  • Location: Where the application is being used from e.g. Home, Office, In-transit (car, plane, train)
  • Locale: Country from which the application is being accessed

In short, give your technology a persona. Once workers have a single user experience, your business and your customers will quickly feel the benefits.



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5 Responses to “Single User Experience”

  1. michaeleriksson Says:

    I am a little confused by your explanation:

    In the beginning, you seem to imply that SUE will give the user an environment customized to his own needs and wishes. (Something, BTW, we Unix/Linux users have known for ages, but which is comparatively rare in the Windows world.)

    Then you seem to see it as something automatically provided to each user based on his current role, the current document type, whatnot. (With the implication that each user who happens to have the same role, edit the same type of document, etc., will still see the same interface, not one tailor-made for him.)

    Could you explain in a little more detail?

    • dharmeshmistry Says:

      Thank you for reading my blog and for your question.
      When I talk about SUE it is about specific applications rather than the “environment”. These applications are context aware and identify common patterns of usage, thus menu’s and detail of content displayed differently across users who’s usage is different.

      For example if you only write 1-2page letters, then you could have a very basic word processing menu. However if your a student who generally writes long essays, thesis, then you may get many more options.

      The same software on mobile would have even fewer options and probably used to take quick notes.

      Does that answer your question?………………kindest regards and many thanks Dharmesh

      • michaeleriksson Says:

        It does. Thank you for the clarification.

        The main difference between the two approaches, however, is not in the differentiation between application and environment (an ambiguous word in this context, because there is a “global” and an application specific environment), but who does the customization:

        1. IIn the case of traditional Unix programs, there has been a philosophy that the user should be enabled to change what he wishes to change (which is very good for the high-end user, but may over-tax the low-end user). An example (based on your) would be allowing the user to himself define in detail what menus are present, what entries are in what menu, etc.

        2. What you describe are automatic changes done by the application it self (or through some other mechanism outside the users immediate control) based on an, in theory, educated guess about what the user would benefit from. (Being a high-end user, I have so far found that such changes do me more harm than good, but the situation may be different on the low-end.)

      • dharmeshmistry Says:

        Thanks for your feedback Michael.

        edgeIPK have a Rich Internet Application development environment that allows non-developers to make customisations that would have typically required a developer, it is a Model Driven Development environment targetted at End User Development community.

        However, I’m not an advocate of automatic rendering to manage device differences, these tend to offer compromised user experiences. However there will always be the need for “rules based” scenario’s for changing functionality, e.g. to provide more functionality to some users than others.

        kind regards………..Dharmesh

  2. 2010 in review « Facing up to IT Says:

    […] Single User Experience April 2010 4 comments 5 […]

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