We all know the story how the QWERTY keyboard became a standard. As a refresher, it stuck because we already had many people already accustomed to the QWERTY typewriters, which were designed to avoid the metal keys from bunching up. What about enterprise or project software user design? How many project management and other types of enterprise software are stuck on the old hierarchal list standard, crammed windows, or using different pages for everything? Most. Even today's Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 designs have the same old structures. Sure, they have bigger orange and purple buttons, cool fonts, etc., but the general user experience hasn't changed much. One problem is that many legacy companies moving to Enterprise 2.0 and SaaS solutions tend to migrate their 1990's apps with no real UX change.
Today's startups have the best option, but many are afraid to shake things up a bit. The fear is understandable. It's easier to stay with what people are used to than to try something really different because there will always be those who will complain. WIth PIEmatrix, I hear it now and then. "Why are you displaying it that way? It's not normal." However, by taking the plunge to display project data with a pie and matrix metaphor, I have found that the majority of our prospects and customers say the user experience model is "refreshing" and "simple". And they confirm that user adoption of PIEmatrix can take a fraction of the time compared with other software. We provide our users with a sense of location in the Project page, which is the most used page. Secondly, most project teams tend to think in terms of their project phase and their major process steps. If you look at many PowerPoint presentations around project data, they show the project phases as a process flow, not as a hierarchal folder structure. So, why can't applications be designed like how the users would naturally sketch it up on a white board or in a PP presentation? I designed PIEmatrix with this in mind and also how I personally do my work.
We're not perfect and I know we have a long ways to go with improving our customers' user experience. This is our highest priority. I do want to say that project management and enterprise software user experience doesn't have to stay with the old and safe structures like we did with our QWERTY keyboards. Just be a little more daring and see what happens. It may still suck, or, maybe not.