Semi-Help is Semi-Hassle

One major advantage of today’s IT infrastructure is the possibility of automation. Information just needs to be entered in one place, and can be used in multiple places just because it is delivered by an automated system. Which allows users to focus on more valuable tasks than entering data into a (paper) form, which means more profit for the business (because the pay is still the same, eh?).

But in most cases, these system do not work perfectly. Which again jeopardizes not only the efficiency of one single process, but the usefulness of the system itself. Systems that need to be handled like “Uh..well…y’know, basically it works, but before you print the three copies of the form, you have to check here and there, and did I mention…?” are only semi-helpful. Checking and manually correcting data is a hassle, especially if it’s not your main task, but something you need to do to finish the job.

The problem here is that most computerized forms are designed in a way that causes the least trouble to the software they’re supposed to work with. Instead, they transfer the trouble to the one in front of the screen. Causing errors. Making the ones who set up the e-marvel think everyone else is stupid. It’s neither the people nor the software, but the usability of the interface of data capture, which needs to be tailored to the purpose and, more important, to the people who are to use it.

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