Posted by Adrian Bridgwater, Guest Blogger
After three years working on a significant update to its central User Interface (UI), NetSuite used the first day of its SuiteWorld 2014 conference and exhibition to unveil the new look and feel for customers. Very much a dual combination of both “looks and functionality,” the new UI is designed to serve customers with the same core capabilities that they already know, but with enhanced controls across a more intuitive presentation overall.
NetSuite looked at the needs of users across roles spanning front-line sales, marketing, finance, ecommerce, HR and services employees through to C-level executives to examine what people want from an enterprise user interface today. It conducted extensive research based on user observations and usability testing with users across all of these roles.
NetSuite CEO outlined the company’s long history innovating the UI of business applications. It began as a product concept in 2001 with its dashboards. In 2006, it introduced in-line editing in web-based applications – and by 2008, NetSuite’s product was more broadly focused on global business management with an openly defined international perspective.
The last three years have seen the company re-architect the UI to present what is commonly referred to as “flat design,” a function that emphasizes crispness and clarity. The challenge was presenting a blend of both elegance and the functionality required by a sophisticated ERP system at the same time. In practical terms, this comes down to the use of easy-to-read fonts, attractively redesigned icons and graphics, increased whitespace and greater aesthetic simplicity.
The UI itself is progressive, future-proofed and forward-looking with its core leverage of HTML5. It is designed around the concept of “progressive disclosure” i.e. the ability for users to navigate menus so that functions sit in concealed action prompts until “mouseover” reveals greater functions within.
The tablet experience has also been improved through a responsive dashboard, larger menus and controls and improved scrolling. NetSuite has presented and aligned data to create more responsive dashboards overall. Dashboard personalization tools are key within the UI, as are drag-and-drop capabilities.
Customizability is a key element of this re-architecting and this is facilitated by a new global QuickAdd that enables users to rapidly add tasks, events, contacts and more from anywhere in the product. In terms of further customization, a new dashboard personalization panel makes it easier for users to tailor the dashboard to their individual needs.
NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson said he thinks that the new UI will be “adopted very quickly and happily.” It will be rolled out in a phased release starting with the 2014.2 release scheduled for June 2014.