Designing Interfaces for Professional Software: Hands-On Experience

UI design for professional software

A professional interface is a highly specialised tool designed to help the user solve tasks as efficiently and productively as possible. Let's talk about the differences between professional tools and mass-use services in terms of UI design.

A Professional Interface Is Different

 

professional interface

 

If the mass-use service interface is an intermediary between the business and the "ordinary" person, the professional interface is a tool for managing internal processes.

For example, a delivery app helps the user select the product and say: "I want, bring it to me!" Meanwhile, with a professional management system, the courier can receive jobs, operate the wave of orders, adjust order preferences and perform other tasks.

Business brings stringent requirements to the pace, volume and quality of work, so efficiency and productivity come first. At the same time, the price of error also increases. Find out what platform to choose for enterprise app design to achieve these goals and minimise risks.

However, there are other features that appear at every stage of the development.

Analytics

 

Analytics in UI design

 

At the discovery stage, designers pay close attention to the conditions in which the user works. They can be determined much more accurately than for the mass-use service interface. This is not only a physical environment, but also an external framework: service requirements, specific activities, regulations, etc. We need to thoroughly understand the context, not limited to the interaction of the operator with the system.

  • The interface must take into account the workflow nuances identified during the research: who, how, where, under what circumstances and how long it will be used.

Scripts

 

Design scripts

 

In most cases our highly specialised multifunctional tool does not suppose long-term comprehensive scenarios. We can identify several key ones, but they are too global to reflect the diversity of opportunities. In a professional interface, individual processes and subprocesses predominate. These are micro scenarios of which a variety of working situations are composed.

The nature of the operator's work, as a rule, is that at any moment anything can happen. There are many plot turns and unexpected twists that need to be taken into account - you never know what and when you might need. Processes have priority and probability, but the main thing in them is nonlinearity - a sort of variants tree, similar to the dendrites of neurons. And all this should be under the control of the operator.

Tasks and solutions

 

design tasks

 

The "branchedness" described above, plus the high price of errors, make the professional interface a tool that helps, but does not make decisions itself. It can hide unnecessary functions, but the choice of the path remains for the user.

Not all events in the interface can be regarded as unambiguously negative or positive.

Sometimes only the complex interaction of various factors leads to an alert, and the task can be solved in different ways.

Design and Beauty

 

app design inspiration

 

Professional interfaces usually work directly with information. If you can read and process information easily, manipulate it and create new info conveniently, then the interface is good. The operator needs clear logic and everything should be extremely functional. Find out what makes a good app design.

Approach to the user

 

Approach to users

 

The approach to users is different. On the one hand, people are still very important to us, but now we look at them from a different angle - in the context of professional activity. On the other hand, we can neglect many common conveniences for the sake of operational speed. You can use abbreviations, remove hints, make use of hot keys, etc. Have a look at the Top app design trends in 2018 to get inspiration and add simplicity to your dashboards.

Testing

 

UI design tesitng

 

The testing stage has its specificity too. The target audience is clearly defined, which means you can do tests with real users. Conditions should be created close to real workers, test scenarios must be made up very delicately. And be ready for resistance to changes alongside a heap of small tips and improvements.

Read more about our quality assurance practices here.

Our global task in creating a professional interface is to take the capabilities of the system, business processes and other regulations and connect them with your real business world. A good interface is like a good design. You don’t notice it, it doesn’t interfere and it doesn’t allow for ambiguity. If this is exactly what you’re looking for, fill in the contact form below.

 

 

 

 

 

Max Summers
June 12, 2018
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