An interview I did with Jon Rose of InfoQ was just posted. I talk about my experience with Flex component development, the Flex commuity as a whole, and the current state of the enterprise software market in general. I’ll probably get some shit for some of my comments about enterprise software where I say that it’s all “almost uniformly horrible” 🙂 I don’t really mean to call all enterprise software crap, it was more a broad strokes comment, the kind I’m apt to make after a few beers. So if you’re making awesome enterprise software, don’t be mad at me, keep doing awesome stuff.
Here’s just a small excerpt from the interview, read the entire thing at InfoQ.
Enterprise software is almost uniformly horrible, but there’s no reason for that. We’re seeing a “UX revolution” in RIA design, and for all the buzzword nonsense surrounding “user experience, ” there’s something real happening in terms of the overall quality of the experience delivered by RIAs. We’ve seen some really great and innovative work in consumer RIAs, with a trend toward simple and intuitive interfaces. And yet in enterprise software this trend has barely even begun, it’s all still complex. I want to see enterprise applications treated like consumer apps, with the same attention to the user experience and with a consistent drive to simplify and make everything more intuitive. Complex systems don’t have to be presented with confusing software. But it takes more work to figure out the simple, elegant solution. It’s far cheaper and faster to make bad complex software than good simple software.
3 thoughts on “Interview up on InfoQ”
No, you’re right – enterprise software really is almost uniformly horrendous.
Great stuff. I do Flex enterprise applications exclusively, and I’ve experienced the same general theme; it’s especially prevalent in “ERP” systems (e.g. PeopleSoft, SAP). The lack of attention to the user experience is not unique to this landscape, just more ingrained I think. These systems, these beasts are built from the inside out, on large project teams largely divorced from the front-line users’ lives, with a priority first on the stability of the internal data schema, and then the stability of the business process, and always last comes the UI, tacked-on at the end to allow controlled entry into the data (lest the user infect the whole system). In this paradigm, software is a necessary evil that happens *to* people; not a value-added efficiency tool that’s developed *for* people.
Plus, there’s still this prevailing notion that real business/work apps can’t be engaging/creative/elegant/satisfying. And while we shouldn’t be playing Tetris when trying to analyze financial trends (nor adding those Vegas-style, iLog gauges for wow-factor), there’s a real elegant role that software can play in the middle, in choosing how exactly to present enormous amounts of information over time.
BTW, below is where the search string “Doug McCune” currently ranks in google’s intellisense suggestion box, when typing the beginning letters; not bad! 🙂
Rank – Search String
N/A – D
N/A – Do
N/A – Dou
N/A – Doug
N/A – Doug M
7 – Doug Mc
3 – Doug McC
2 – Doug McCu
1 – Doug McCun
1 – Doug McCune (with ‘coverflow’, ‘carousel’, ‘flex’, ‘slider’, and ‘twitter’ suffixes)
I think you’re right about almost all enterprise softwares.
I was thinking about it for a long time. And today I red your post! It’s nice to know that I’m not alone. There are experts thinking about it too. 🙂
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