Khoi Vinh, designer director for NYTimes.com, asks an important question about why enterprise software is so hard to use. Newsroom production systems aren't his only target -- payroll and HR systems get their share of blame.
In part, he asks:
"What is it about the world of enterprise software that routinely produces such inelegant user experiences? Presumably, IT managers are enthusiasts of technology and the Internet as much as designers, if not more so. It’s understandable that they may fail to explicitly grasp the design principles that inform good interfaces, but surely that same exposure should make them aware that the software they’re buying and rolling out is not as easy to use, right?"
For the full article and comments from design heavyweights, go to Subtraction.com
I know a fine once-upon-a-time designer who is now a big-time IT manager. Is it hard to remember principles of design when dealing with vendors and budgets? Or are there no simpler, secure choices? What can we do to make it better?
Real-world illustration: Adrian Holovaty, database wizard, is using his Knight Foundation grant to launch cool new things with a team of two database people, one people person and one amazing "interaction" designer, Wilson Miner. Some folks talk about Holovaty's work without recognizing Miner's contributions. They shouldn't.