For many considering purchasing HR software, the shortlist of requirements is usually very feature heavy. The need for employee self-service, recruitment, analytics and workflows usually tops the list for most in the market for HR software; but often, a good User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) can be overlooked.
What is UI and UX?
For those of us in the tech world, UI and UX are two terms often bandied about. We bemoan the poor UI of a website and praise software products with great UI; but to those less au fait with the two terms, these statements can be meaningless!
So, let’s take a look at the difference between User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI).
Cognitive scientist and Co-Founder of the Nielsen Norman Group Design Consultancy, Dan Norman is believed to have coined the term ‘user experience’ in the late 1990s, describing it as: “User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
As you can see, UX wasn’t initially just a term used by tech companies but the term covered every interaction between a user and a company, its services and products. It can include our perception of ease of use, utility and efficiency. In software terms, good UX can include (but is certainly not limited to) visual design, usability, interactions and information architecture; these factors all contribute to how a user interacts with and experiences software and lend themselves to meaningful and relevant experiences.
UI refers to the point at which a user interacts with a specific piece of software, website or computer. The end goal of good UI is to make a user’s experience easy, straightforward and intuitive, requiring as little effort as possible to achieve their desired outcome. It might focus on the design of the software, styling, fonts and colours used, clear iconography and other aspects that all make software easy and pleasurable to use.
Why do they matter?
Today, good UI and UX matter more than ever before. With the sheer number of software, online tools and platforms available online, after functionality is satisfied, the point of differentiation often comes with how easy a system is to use, how the end-user experiences the software and how intuitive it is.
When evaluating HR software, good UX/UI is critical. As a core business system that your entire workforce will use regularly, it is important that the system is easy to use for everyone. A clunky system where your users have to hunt for the easiest way to request time off will certainly leave a bitter taste in the mouth. They will likely be put off using the system to update their personal details, request training or complete feedback surveys, too. Your employees shouldn’t have to take more time than is absolutely necessary to make simple HR requests, update their details or complete timesheets – they have their own job to do, after all.
HR software with a good UI/UX will remove any roadblocks when it comes to usability and HR will save valuable time responding to or actioning the admin tasks that take up their fair share of time. Software that is designed with the user in mind should be intuitive, simple and effortless to use; ultimately removing these roadblocks and time-consuming HR tickets.
Similarly, your HR team will benefit from an HR system that prides itself on great UX/UI. As the primary users of the system who will likely be spending the most time using the software, it shouldn’t be a laborious, nor challenging for then to get their job done.
Armed with HR software that is a delight to use, tasks such as reporting become effortless, workflows streamline previously time-consuming processes and HR will be able to begin focusing on more strategic HR initiatives that add value to their people. Software should be designed to help us to get our jobs done, not make it harder.