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UI & UX in Field Service Software - Why it does matter

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This is the first part of our series “Field Ser­vice Softwa­re - Why it does mat­ter”. In this series, we dive into dif­fe­rent aspects and fea­tu­res of field ser­vice softwa­re and explain why they are impor­tant, and how they help field ser­vice busi­nes­ses crea­te outs­tan­ding teamwork, deli­ver value and get the job done.


If you’­ve been using any kind of softwa­re, for busi­ness or per­so­nal use, you might have come across the terms: UI and UX.

UI stands for User Inter­face and UX stands for User Expe­rience.

Whi­le the­se acro­nyms are often used in the tech world, we belie­ve their applica­tion goes far bey­ond the tech realm.

What is UI?

User Inter­face (UI) gene­ral­ly refers to the visual ele­ments and the ove­rall aest­he­tics of a pro­duct. The choice of colours, posi­tio­ning of ele­ments, effects and tran­si­tions after an inte­rac­tion is con­si­de­red as UI.

What is UX?

UX is a blur­rier term. It’s about gene­ral user satis­fac­tion when using a pro­duct. Even if you rea­li­se it or not, eve­ry inte­rac­tion with a pro­duct crea­tes emo­tions and reac­tions. Over time you have more of the­se inte­rac­tions and they pro­duce the user’s sub­jec­ti­ve expe­rience and fee­lings with a pro­duct.


‘User expe­rience’ encom­pas­ses all aspects of the end-user’s inte­rac­tion with the com­pa­ny, its ser­vices, and its pro­ducts.

Don Nor­man, Aut­hor of “The Design of Eve­ryt­hing”

Why good UI & UX are important

Have you ever had an expe­rience with a pro­duct or ser­vice that was so bad, that your imme­dia­te reac­tion was to never repeat this expe­rience again? In some ext­re­me cases, bad UI/UX can build up to resent­ment or beco­me a deal-brea­ker for its users.

On the cont­ra­ry,  good UI/UX in softwa­re can help with:

  • reducing user errors
  • quic­ker onboar­ding of new users
  • inc­rea­sing user enga­ge­ment
  • inc­rea­sing pro­duc­ti­vi­ty through an easy, repea­table, con­sis­tent expe­rience

The ulti­ma­te goal of good UI & UX is to reduce fric­tion!

5 benefits of good UI/UX for field service businesses

The more complex your work is, the more impor­tant it is to have tech­no­lo­gy and softwa­re that is easy to use and unders­tand. Con­su­mer tech­no­lo­gies are pio­neers in that field and their advance­ments are trickling down to busi­ness softwa­re too.

When it comes to field ser­vice softwa­re, an intui­ti­ve user inter­face and good user expe­rience can make or break your busi­ness.

Intui­ti­ve UI and sop­his­tica­ted UX in job mana­ge­ment softwa­re helps you with

1. Shor­ter onboar­ding time & less trai­ning: you won’t need 10 hours of trai­ning befo­re your people can start using a tool.

2. Inc­rea­sed data qua­li­ty: less rework and fewer hea­dac­hes during audits.

3. Reduced human errors: by offe­ring auto­ma­tic calcu­la­tions and hiding irre­le­vant fields.

4. Reduced rework: by displaying only rele­vant infor­ma­tion to each user and man­da­to­ry fields.

5. Smooth busi­ness ope­ra­tions: with less rework, less trai­ning and ulti­ma­te­ly smoot­her proces­ses, UI & UX free you up to focus on the big­ger pic­tu­re.

UI / UX is everywhere

UI and UX are not limi­ted to softwa­re and tech­no­lo­gy pro­ducts. They can be applied to almost anyt­hing. Here are four examples:

Communication

How does com­mu­nica­tion rela­te to UI/UX? One major com­po­nent of UI/UX is “inter­facing”. Lan­gua­ge is a pri­me example of an inte­rac­tion between people.

If you read the Roo­se­velt govern­ment’s 1942 blac­kout order memo.

Such pre­pa­ra­tions shall be made as will comple­te­ly obscu­re all Fede­ral buil­dings and non-Fede­ral buil­dings occu­pied by the Fede­ral govern­ment during an air raid for any period of time from visi­bi­li­ty by rea­son of inter­nal or exter­nal illu­mi­na­tion

Trans­la­tion:

Put somet­hing across the win­dows in buil­dings whe­re they have to keep wor­king.

I think we all agree that the first sen­tence hard to read and unders­tand whi­le the second sen­tence is clut­ter-free and gets imme­dia­te­ly to the point. That is a good user expe­rience in the broa­dest of terms.

Objects

Simple objects can make a simple task inc­re­dibly hard when UI/UX is not con­si­de­red. Look at this tea­pot, for example. Wouldn’t you get frustra­ted when trying to pour your­self a hot cup of tea?

Flight instruments

Would you board a pla­ne that is flown by a pilot with no pro­per trai­ning or int­ro­duc­tion to the flight deck? No, because pla­nes are very complex and so is the use of their dash­boards.

Paperwork

Tax forms are a pri­me example whe­re good UI & UX would save both the people and the govern­ment a huge amount of time. Forcing a user to calcu­la­te num­bers them­sel­ves is error-pro­ne. The under­lying assump­tion is that the user has all the pre­requi­si­te know­led­ge to fill in form cor­rect­ly. That is not always the case.

How we make complexity for field service businesses manageable

From expe­rience, we know that field ser­vices busi­nes­ses are facing complex workflows, due to qua­li­ty requi­re­ments, audits and gover­nance, mul­tiple par­ties invol­ved such as subcont­rac­tors, and other various rea­sons unique to each busi­ness.

The more complex a busi­ness is, the more:

  • errors are made
  • cost­ly the­se errors are
  • trai­ning is requi­red
  • proces­ses are nee­ded in order to keep eve­ry­one alig­ned

We unders­tand field ser­vices are complex by natu­re. ‘We eat complexi­ty‘ is a go-to-sta­te­ment for us. Here are some examples of how we attack complexi­ty by leve­ra­ging UI/UX.

Only display what is relevant

At Emvi­sa­ge we hide the complexi­ty and display only the most neces­sa­ry infor­ma­tion for you to per­form a task. By reducing the num­ber of choices visible, you and your team don’t need to scan and sort forms to see what is impor­tant and what is not.

Each user has ‘role’ assig­ned to them. Roles are flexible; you can crea­te as many roles as you want. Some examples of roles would be Ins­tal­ler, Ins­pec­tor, Back Office, and Mana­ger.

You can con­fi­gu­re each role in order to only see rele­vant infor­ma­tion accor­ding to their func­tion.

For example:

  • the Ins­tal­ler role doesn’t need to see dash­boards and repor­ting
  • An exter­nal cont­rac­tor shouldn’t see the finances
Mana­ger View
Ins­tal­ler View

Consistent layout - across multiple devices

Emvi­sa­ge works on a wide ran­ge of devices. From 4K screen to small smartp­ho­nes; the user inter­face stays as simi­lar as fea­sible in an effort to reduce fric­tion.

Custom-made software that trumps off-the-shelf products

Emvi­sa­ge adapts to your busi­ness, not the other way around. Off-the-shelf pro­ducts gene­ral­ly force you to:

  • work wit­hin their fra­mework
  • use their voca­bu­la­ry

Lan­gua­ge and terms don’t seem so impor­tant at first glance. Howe­ver, it can lead to errors and con­fusion when the same word has dif­fe­rent mea­nings in dif­fe­rent con­texts.

One place to manage your installations, end to end. 

From the first cus­to­mer con­tact to final deli­ve­ry, eve­ryt­hing hap­pens in one place. By using Emvi­sa­ge you won’t need to have a mul­ti­tu­de of softwa­re. Switc­hing between softwa­re means chan­ging con­text and that leads to more fric­tion.

Intui­ti­ve UI and sop­his­tica­ted UX offer more value than just a nice design of softwa­re. They play an inte­gral part for teams and busi­nes­ses, especial­ly in the field ser­vice industry.


If you’­re inte­res­ted to learn more about Emvi­sa­ge and how we help our cus­to­mers stream­li­ne workflows and cut paperwork, visit our home­pa­ge: Emvi­sa­ge Field Workflow Softwa­re.

Field Workflow Software for businesses handling complex field work