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Something to think about... / blog
Enterprise Application Complexity

Written by on March 27, 2008

Eric Burke posted this "screenshot" illustrating the complexity of company applications. And he is right. I cannot tell how many times I have seen enterprise applications that look exactly like this (or even worse at times).

The best part is actually not the picture. It is the many comments people made either defending the horrible interface or attacking the defenders. I quote:

Your company's app is probably industry specific and will be used by a smallish number of people for hundreds or thousands of hours to do their job. Power, flexibility and efficiency become far more important than intuitiveness, beauty and user-friendliness. If a user has to spend 3 hours learning the product then uses it every day for the next year, it's not a big deal.

- Steve Bennett

I don't agree with Steve Bennett when he writes "If a user has to spend 3 hours...", it's not three hours, it's three years, which is a big deal. It wastes time.

- Brett Schuchert

Comics are not literal statements of fact. I can't believe I have to say that. OH MY GOD! HE SHOWED ONLY ONE BUTTON! THAT IS SO UNFAIR! HE THINKS HE CAN CODE A COMPLEX BUSINESS APP WITH ONE TEXT FIELD! ERIC BURKE IS WRONG! APPLE PRODUCTS HAVE MORE THAN ONE BUTTON! WHY AREN'T HIS COMICS MORE ACCURATE???

- Eric Burke

Sorry, Eric. Your cartoon is a cliche, first of all. And secondly, the appropriate comparison would have been Yahoo and Microsoft.

- RealismNotComics

Some of you are way too uptight. It's a freakin' comic people! I think the author has license to take it whatever direction he wants.

- Rob

I tried to press the OKAY button but nothing happened! Eric, your app doesn't work. How dare you put a broken example application on the web! I couldn't even get your Google interface to work - how could you screw up a simple text field?

- Alex Miller

If your first reaction to this comic (and particularly if you took umbrage enough to post a reply WRITING that reaction) is "but my app is complex, so it HAS to have a complex interface", then YOU are exactly the problem being illustrated.

- Nathaniel

This application pic shown is 1000 times simpler than what I am used....

- Kiran

This is more fun than watching Dr. Phil on TV

(via JustAddWater.dk)

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.

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