When Google first emerged as a leader in search engine technology, users noted an obvious difference between that company’s ultra-simple page design and the substantially busier formats used by their competitors. Briefly stated, Google took a minimalist approach, offering users a company logo, a search box, and two buttons. A handful of links appear at the top and bottom of the page, – but for the most part, it’s a lot of blank space.
A blog post from the company offered some insight into their thought process:
Google is all about getting you where you are going faster — how could we launch something that potentially slowed users down? … Our goal then became to understand whether or not over time the users began to use the homepage even more efficiently than the control group and, sure enough, that was the trend we observed.
Most business applications don’t lend themselves to quite that level of austerity, of course, – but we can learn a lot from Google’s philosophy of making the user’s job as fast and easy as possible. We all have the experience at one time or another of using software or websites that were littered with extraneous information, requiring users to sift through unnecessary information to get at the details that actually matter.
When software is designed with usability in mind, – that is, when it focuses intensely on the needs of the end-user, – things simply get done faster. Onboarding new employees is easier. People make fewer mistakes, and they embrace the system as a beneficial tool rather than a burdensome requirement.
Although many people may be tempted to write off usability as an unimportant side benefit, – in fact it has real implications that affect your company’s bottom line. Let’s examine some of the reasons for making ease-of-use a priority when selecting QMS software for your business.
New Employees Come up to Speed Faster
In a highly competitive labor market, many organizations are experiencing higher turnover than usual. As such, the cost of onboarding new employees is somewhat more important than it has been in the past. Formal training for new team members takes time and costs money. If software systems are complex or if employees are compelled to learn complicated workarounds, that creates a steeper learning curve, – which inevitably translates to higher onboarding costs.
Intuitive, easy-to-use software helps new people come up to speed faster, with fewer errors and less direct oversight.
You Get a Smoother QMS Implementation
The same principle applies to the initial rollout of your QMS software in your company. Virtually every software implementation budget involves an allocation of time and money for employee training. When software is inherently easy to use, – and when it can easily be configured to perfectly fit your unique business processes, – everyone in your organization will come up to speed faster and generate positive results earlier from your QMS investment.
Ease-of-use also impacts the degree to which your users embrace the new software. In virtually all organizations, there are at least a few “doubters” who are suspicious of change and resistant to the idea of doing things differently. That calls for a change management effort to explain the benefits of a new system, highlight early successes, and quell dissatisfaction among the technology skeptics.
When your new software is perceived as being clunky and difficult to use, – that makes it especially hard to convince the naysayers of its value. When it’s easy to use, and when employees begin to see benefits early in your implementation process, it creates a virtuous cycle of improvement around your entire quality management program.
Your Quality Data is More Accurate and Complete
The effectiveness of your QMS software is contingent upon users embracing the system and understanding how it improves their jobs and the results the team is aiming to achieve.
Most of us have encountered situations in which some employees only reluctantly complied with the mandate to enter all of their data into a new software system. In this case, the root of the problem isn’t bad employee morale so much as it is a lack of appreciation for how the new system will benefit everyone involved with quality management processes.
If employees persist in their belief that their efforts are meaningless, some may do a lackluster job of keeping the system up to date. If the software is difficult to use, that problem only gets worse. Make it easy to use, – that is, reduce the friction involved with maintaining accurate and complete quality data, – and you’ll get meaningful information and trustworthy quality metrics from your QMS system.
Employees Can Focus on High-Value Activities
When software is easy to use, employees can work more efficiently. Let’s return to our earlier example of the minimalist Google search page: When users must scroll through several pages of data entry fields that aren’t required and don’t serve a meaningful purpose, they’re wasting their time. It’s a frustrating experience, and in some cases users must repeat it hundreds of times during the course of a work week.
Ease-of-use also extends to mobile applications, which make it possible for employees to complete tasks wherever they may happen to be. This is especially helpful in the field or on the shop floor because it allows a user to collect data and submit it to the QMS system without writing down the information and carrying it back to a workstation. Intellect’s mobile apps even make it possible to take a photograph and attach it to a document or record in the QMS system.
When employees can work efficiently and effectively, from wherever they may happen to be, – it frees them up to spend more time on high-value activities.
Lower IT Administration Costs
Traditional concepts of user-friendly design don’t normally extend to a discussion of deployment models. It’s worth mentioning, however, that cloud-based software positively impacts ease-of-use as well. Intellect QMS runs in a simple web browser, which eliminates the need to install client software on individual workstations. That’s simpler to implement and maintain, which saves time and money for your IT department.
Upgrades, likewise, happen seamlessly. Your company benefits from new features and innovations as soon as they become available, – without the disruptive and costly process of installing and testing new software.
Configurability Makes it All Possible
At Intellect, user-friendly design is an integral part of our product philosophy. We provide software that’s simple to learn and use, easy to deploy, and powerful enough to meet the needs of rapid-growth companies.
What truly makes Intellect stand apart from its competitors, though, is our “extreme configurability.” Many of our customers choose our platform because it offers a very high degree of flexibility. Few fully grasp the power of configurability, though, until they begin to use the software within their own organizations.
We routinely hear our customers say “I’m not a technical person, but I’m able to make Intellect work exactly the way I want it to.” Quality managers can quickly learn to use our no-code platform to design the forms, processes, and workflows that best serve their goals. And they can do it without relying on programmers or database administrators from their IT department.
If you’re thinking about rolling out a modern QMS system in your organization, we hope you’ll take a look at Intellect. Get started today by scheduling a free, no-obligation call with one of our QMS experts.