Taking Your Firm Online with Business Web Apps
Companies have increasingly moved more and more of the business applications that drive their workflows to the online world. Web applications demonstrate a number of advantages over the traditional applications normally used by employees on desktops around the world. One of the clearest advantages is the cost differential; with the deployment of an online business application, a firm could potentially save hundreds if not thousands of dollars that would otherwise be spent on software, installation, and the multiplicity of licenses required to be held by each individual user. Web applications, in contrast, can be easily distributed throughout an application, with one simple cost structure to support the entire organization. Likewise, due to the fact that an online application is centrally located on the internet, any software updates that are needed over time will take much less effort to implement; any modifications of the web application at the server location will affect all the users of that web application instantaneously.
Open Case, Closed Case
Of course, businesses will need to be careful about how they share sensitive business information within an online environment. For this reason, many businesses will want to have at least some of a given business web app to be internally-facing and exclusive to their employees alone. If the web application in question is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application, one may seek to combine both closed and open web application designs by setting up a customer dashboard that will allow employees such as sales staff to interact with customers in a secure way, or to otherwise allow customers access to their own personal records with the company and an ability to procure additional products and services as the need arises.
Maximizing Employee Efficiency with Great UI Design
Since the ultimate goal of the deployment of an online application is ultimately to increase the efficiencies of the business process, let’s take a look at what may be the single largest determiner of the return on investment you can expect from the deployment of a business web app: the user interface (UI) design. A great UI design needs to be built upon the following foundations:
- internal consistency
- external consistency
- help and forgiveness
- task specificity
- keyboard support
Internal consistency refers to the consistency of everything from color, form, and navigation, to terminology throughout the application. External consistency refers to keeping the UI design within the basic design parameters of the OS being used and/or the family of applications it is a part of—for example, the Microsoft Office suite. Both of these traits help to bend the learning curve down to something far more manageable. Adding help features as well as incorporating forgiveness into the programming, which allows users to quickly and easily reverse commands while working, also goes a long way to ensuring that your user base learns the ins and outs of the web app quickly and painlessly. One should also bear in mind that the online application needs to be accessible for all users; one web design may not perform as well in different browsers, and with more and more employees becoming a part of the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) business trend, IT departments should keep a particular focus on making sure that any web applications their firms use are optimized for use on tablets and even smartphones.
Putting the Workflow into Overdrive
Perhaps the most important thing a good user interface design will do for your company is to ensure that tasks are broken up into small and specific chunks of the workflow. The easier it is for users to focus on small tasks, working step-by-step, the faster they are likely to perform on each part of the total business process, thereby shortening the length of time it takes to complete any particular job. Task specificity also helps employees identify any mistakes in their work much more readily. Keyboard support can also increase efficiency among employees, particularly those used to operating applications in such a manner, by reducing the time it takes to move from mouse to keyboard. Finally, the ability to personalize any given user interface will also help speed up the completion of tasks, as employees will be able to place the functions of the app they use most frequently in the most convenient locations for them. This can also help users create a digital work environment that feels right for them.
DDA Apps has been creating custom-designed and -developed applications for both mobile devices and the web since its inception. As a universal developer, DDA Apps always makes sure that their user experiences are optimized for all browsers and on all devices, ensuring that no matter what your workforce needs, they can provide. Likewise, you can be confident that DDA Apps’ ultra-secure, non-internet-facing database servers can maintain your company’s sensitive records in perfect privacy. See what online web apps can do for your business; contact DDA Apps today.
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