Software development problems and their solutions related to usability

This article is an attempt to summarize some of the simplest usability issues experienced in custom software development and the innovations that were introduced to deal with them.

Every software application faces some straightforward usability issues which are based on tricky grounds. The answer to solving a usability challenge usually lies in coming up with an innovative way of dealing with it.

  • Converting paper forms to electronic papers such that the electronic paper forms offer seamless transition to the users from paper-based to electronic data entry can turn out to be a tricky task. In one of such scenarios we tried to deal with the practice of creating a vertical line to indicate a “as it is” for rest of the records.

Solution: Bulk Update is perfect solution to this difficulty widely found during custom software development processes.

  • If the entities in an application are thick/heavy such that there are many associated child entities, then navigating to various sections related to the entity becomes a usability challenge.

Solution: A little pull down icon button which is termed as “Quick Jump” is the answer to this difficulty normally found during custom software development services offered by offshore vendors.

  • The application administrators often face the problems in terms of purging/deleting erroneous or unwanted data from the application. Deletion of data has to deal with the basic issue of referential integrity and its gravity increases in applications that are medium to large size in nature. Assume that you are a Technical Person/Application Administrator/IT Director and have some technical know-how about the application database or entity references. Each day you receive requests to delete users, projects, quotes etc. of the application whose referential data is scattered throughout the application. An attempt to deleting such entities will mostly show up a message like “Cannot delete record as reference exists”. You are left with the only option to check references of the underlying table and deleting them using “Delete From ” query, which may not be the easiest way to deal with this issue.

Solution: View Reference is the solution to this difficulty. With just one click you can know where associated data resides. You can now delete data straight away from application by just switching to respective components, since you are well aware of the application functions and references. After studying the references, it can become an easy decision whether the data should be purged or it is relevant enough to be retained. And if it needs to be purged, the references indicated are to be removed.

  • Providing messages that make complete sense to the user/audience of the application might seem like a trivial task, but it may not always turn out to be simple enough. We were often faced with the issues of resolving grammatical or domain specific terminologies being changed quite frequently on client/user request.

Solution: Message Repository is the smart solution to this issue usually found in companies who are offered offshore software development services. To avoid having to change the configuration file or code for the messages, we built a message repository. Simply search for the message in the repository, make changes to the message and it will be reflected in the application. The application administrators can change the messages themselves without having to pass this job to the technical people.

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