Will PLM experience move to a single-page UI?

December 3, 2012

The complexity of user interface in PLM applications is a well-known fact that acknowledged by almost all PLM vendors today. The demand of customers is to have modern and useful UI. It is popular to speak now about UI in a more expanded term – User Experience. Nowadays, modern consumer websites are used as an example of good user experience. Amazon, Facebook, Googe, Twitter, etc. – how to copy their experience to improve enterprise apps? When it comes to UI, one of the most critical questions is a complexity of UI navigation between different UI forms and pages. A possible pragmatic way to improve UI (and user experience) is to reduce the number of clicks and UI forms you need to use and open in order to accomplish the task.

I’ve been reading TechCrunch article – Enterprise Apps Are Moving To Single-Page Design. Navigate to the following link, have a read and make your opinion. Authors are talking with Zendesk – an software outfit building helpdesk application. The collaboration of people in helpdesk application is extremely important. So, UX is a critical element of how to make software successful and useful. Here is an interesting passage:

As a cloud help-desk software provider, we recognized that our customers’ needs were also changing. A few years ago, web support meant email. Today there’s chat and click-to-talk voice support, and most customers demand instant answers and help. These real-time channels benefit from a more modern application approach than our original HTML application afforded. From the support side, customer support agents might be chatting with one customer while simultaneously updating another customer’s files. Meanwhile, large support teams need to collaborate in real time. The platform can’t slow the pace of work.

To me, the interesting moment was the fact Zendesk mentioned the move from "email collaboration" to "online collaboration". This is where modern web-based user experience is coming to play. It required replacement of UI practice and new UI design. The idea of single-page UI seems to be interesting and becomes dominant in many apps. The fact page-reload is not required makes it simple for navigation and understanding. Here is another passage:

From a technical perspective, a single-page web application is delivered as one page to the browser and typically does not require the page to be reloaded as the user navigates to different parts of the application. This results in faster navigation, more efficient network transfers, and better overall performance for the end user.

Creating of new single-page apps requires some technical work and may lead to refactoring and re-architecture of application front-end layers.

What is my conclusion? The development of intuitive UI becomes one of the major trends in enterprise UI. The era of enterprise-UI-complexity is finally over. The modern UI and user experience techniques are coming in play. It will lead to major rewrite of UI level in many enterprise applications, introducing of new open APIs and reuse of open source infrastructure used in consumer and social web. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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