UI or user interface is of critical importance in any application, as it is the part of the software that the end users interact with all the time.
Obviously, it is also very important that your ERP user interface is as user-friendly as possible too.
A user interface that is not intuitive or user friendly could slow your workflow, and leave employees unhappy – giving them cause to reject the software; and they would be justified, as the slow workflow could lead to backlogs, confusion, and even errors.
There is no need to panic, though.
The user interface is one element of your ERP system that can be customized to be an excellent fit for your requirements.
Ergo, with a little planning and forethought, a user interface can be crafted that can ensure that your workflows are humming along at a decent pace, and organizational productivity remains high.
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Let us take a quick look at the most important things to consider when designing the user interface of your ERP system:
Another thing to be borne in mind is the response time – that is, the time the software takes to respond to user inputs and queries, or take the action as requested by the user.
It goes without saying that the software must execute the commands entered by users immediately – there should be no time gap that the user can perceive, in most situations.
It must also be mentioned, however, that while the software aspect is vital, especially database design, the hardware that supports the software – primarily your desktops and servers – also must be capable of facilitating rapid executions of user commands.
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An ERP system makes intensive use of the database; databases consume most of the system resources in any software.
Therefore, you need to check the computing power you have in your hardware, the network capacity, and the amount of storage you have, to work out if you need to upgrade any of these elements, and by how much.
If you don’t your productivity may lag, and the money you save on the hardware could turn out to be a lot less than what it costs you when your productivity suffers.
Let us assume that your system is sufficiently quick and your database is well-tuned, then the next thing to look at is your user interface in ERP.
Remember, it is vital that you ensure everything is fast, convenient, and easy for your end-users.
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You need to dish out the information to your users in manageable bits.
Make sure you present enough information that prevents them from constantly toggling between screens – but it is just as important that you don’t clutter up the screen.
The maximum number of fields that can be fitted on a standard screen and that can be easily read are five – at the most, six.
The design of the screen should be such that the most important information you want to convey, and the fields you want them to enter information in, stand out and grabs the user’s attention immediately, in a natural up–down flow; more specifically, from the top left to the bottom right.
While colours can help you organize the screen, it is important that you use them with discretion.
A multitude of colours, or very vivid colours can end up distracting the user rather than helping them focus.
Use sober colours, and colour combinations that complement each other rather than clash.
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When it comes to graphics for your ERP software interface, you need to make sure that you follow the same rules.
The graphics must be informative rather than distractive, and you certainly should use them minimally.
If you mix different styles, you have to be extremely careful that it does not end up confusing the user and hamper the readability and usability of the interface.
Sticking to a single font, which is legible, is the best thing to do – you can increase the size or make it bold wherever you need to stress a particular point.
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Again, it is best you don’t go overboard with the attributes – the same font in regular, bold, italics – are more than sufficient.
Normally what happens when designing the screens is that logic takes a backseat – it’s efficiency that takes precedence.
After all, the important thing is to help the workflow along, rather than worrying about the logic of what element should go in what place.
Sometimes efficiency can mean repeating some information on more than one screen – it is absolutely okay; you need not worry about it at all.
Consistency of design in your ERP interfaces is crucial.
When you maintain consistent design across screens, it becomes super easy for the user to see that these screens are all part of the same application.
This can comprise things like font, background colours, graphics in corners, and so on.
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Even after taking care of all these factors, the software could have some flaws – you cannot be sure that it is ready to be launched into the market.
This is where testing becomes important.
Ask them to use it, and take their feedback?
Are they finding it easy to use?
Are there any aspects they would like to be changed or improved?
Take their suggestions, and incorporate them, as only someone who has used the app will be able to say how efficient or not the application is.
Designing a user-friendly and effective ERP user interface is not that difficult, but it does necessitate some time and effort.
The good news is that you only need to do it once.
Briefly let us encapsulate what we have learnt so far, and what is needed in a good ERP interface, especially if you are upgrading your software or switching over to a new one.
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When the UI is user-friendly or intuitive, it means that the end users can easily navigate the software by themselves, without any training or necessity of manuals and user guides.
A user interface that is designed well will enable users to explore the software by themselves, and get solutions to their queries swiftly.
This will help build trust in the users, who will enjoy using the app, drastically increasing the adoption rates of the app.
As mentioned earlier, minimal use of colours, graphics, and animation should be the norm, to ensure that the commands and functionalities are clearly visible and accessible.
Avoid clutter at all costs.
Colour code if you must, to make it convenient for users to find information that is important.
Good design will help you provide the necessary information without cluttering the user screen.
Good interface design includes thoughtful layouts, fonts, colours, and so on.
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Different employees handle software in their own ways.
Therefore, rather than a one size fits all, your ERP software should enable users to configure their own screens by setting their choices as per their preferences and requirements.
After all, employees from different departments have different requirements, and it is vital that their dashboards reflect that.
Cloud-based ERP software like Tranquil is accessible from any place and at any time.
Your employees can simply log in with their mobile devices.
As your employees are all likely to have completely different devices – tablets, laptops, and smartphones of different sizes and screen resolutions, it is critical that the ERP user interface has to be responsive.
That is, it should be compatible with any screen design that it runs on.
The experience for the user has to be smooth and complete – not with bits of the app hidden or cut off because of the screen size.
While this is challenging, it is a critical aspect of ensuring user-friendly UI.
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A layout that works perfectly on a laptop may be extremely cumbersome to work with on a smartphone.
Hence, responsive design is extremely important.
Is your current ERP interface cluttered and confusing?
Tranquil ERP presents to you a way out – a neat, minimalist, fast loading, and efficient user interface, and one that can be easily customized to suit your specific business requirements.
Tranquil ERP is a robust and efficient ERP system that can help you achieve your business goals through automation and streamlining of your business processes, and boosting employee productivity. It can help you save time, money, and effort, and positively impact your bottom line, increasing profitability. If you are still unsure of getting on the bandwagon, give us a call to schedule a demo – or shoot us an email. We’ll demonstrate how exactly the interface works, and our representatives will be happy to answer your queries.