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The Importance of User-Design for Custom Software

Have you ever used a piece of software and wondered - what were they thinking when they created this? Who does it that way?

The Importance of User-Design for Custom Software

Perhaps you are one of the fortunate few who have not experienced this, but if you have, chances are the software you’re using is a system that wasn't really purposefully created for what you’re using it for?

Why Would You Need Purpose Built Software?

Many start-ups start this way. They think that utilising the same software system across multiple functions will save them money in the long run, when it actually costs them so much more in man-hours. But at some point, as they grow, they look toward systems that are able to fulfil the functions of the various roles within the business. At this point they have a couple of choices: either look at off-the-shelf software created for that purpose; or create custom software. 

There are some great off-the-shelf systems available, but you’re limited to the way the software works, whereas with custom software, it works around the way you do things.

The Art of Creating Good Custom Software

It is all too easy to think that creating software systems for companies is uncomplicated, especially when you’re the end-user and you’re working with a great product. But creating a good product is not as easy as it sounds.

Software systems also require user-design thinking in order to deliver a seamless experience to their end-users. 

User-design thinking, in its most basic form, is the process of understanding the end-user, their challenges and processes and providing a final product with their needs in mind.

Think about it like this: would you ask your content team to build you an accounting system? Probably not. Not because you presume they can’t add numbers, but rather as it is not their everyday job function. Your accountant is in a much better position to create the flow of the process and add their unique requirements and specifications. Now we’re not suggesting that your accountant should create the software, but we are suggesting that you ask them how they work, understand the pit-falls and the processes, their frustrations or joy with any current systems and truly listen to what they need.

A great software developer will take this one step further and then look at the big picture: how does this accounting software fit in with the larger business and grow the entire ecosystem to work together like a well-oiled machine.

Very Few One Size Fits All Solutions

There are certainly systems that one can purchase off-the-shelf that have the very basic functionality your team might need. For example, accounting, invoicing, payroll, or even HR systems. The trick comes in when your business starts to grow and you inevitably outgrow the  functionality offered within those systems, or those systems just don’t speak to each other.

This is the moment when you should consider custom software.

Unique As Your Process

When you consider creating custom software for your business, the software agency will usually send a team of user-design experts to spend time with your relevant teams and understand the nitty-gritty of their everyday process flows, but also the business flow at large. 

From this research the user-design team would create a process flow for the relevant business unit and eventual wireframe mockup of the software function and flow.

It is not unusual for these teams to suggest a couple of improvements in such process flow for the final software. 

In the end, however, the software should feel very natural to those users as it is effectively their way of working personified. The software should merely be a tool to help them do their daily functions better and quite possibly, faster.

Platinum Software specialises in custom software, and in addition offers a hybrid style of off-the-shelf cloud software. Hybrid, as it is customisable to an extent. Thus able to offer your business the best of both worlds and to help you scale as your team and business’s requirement grows, at a fraction of the cost.