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The Importance of Ease-of-Use

Brett Goldberg | February 28, 2017

Most software designers will say they strive for “ease-of-use” above all other features. User Experience (UX) experts will describe it, consistently, as mission critical to their trade. The imperative nature of software being “easy to use” has only grown in importance as the world of software has shifted to mobile-first technologies where small screens and “fat fingers” prevail. PC Magazine describes ease-of-use as the “most talked about and least understood aspect of software.” It is truly the moment where art meets science in our world.

It’s fairly obvious why ease-of-use matters in software. The more cumbersome it is, the less likely it is to gain adoption. Simple, intuitive things are easier to use than harder things. Here at Spex, we’ve come to understand how this industry has experienced overly complex and cumbersome software in the past. Even the most valued, most important platforms are complicated. The industry relies on tools that aren’t streamlined, even after years of continued utilization. “Learn how to use our software in only two weeks” is not a call-to-action statement geared at usability. Expensive, time-consuming workshops and seminars devoted solely to learning a single piece of software should not be a generally accepted practice.

I was encouraged to expand on our bias towards “ease-of-use” from our blog post in January. We built Spex with a mobile-first, ease-of-use focus from day #1. We did that for the following reasons:

  1. Most field users will not leave the “clipboard and graph paper” status quo until a new solution is better, partially defined as “easy to use.”

  2. Most insurance-related organizations are not interested in spending significant dollars to train or activate new software solutions.

  3. The next-generation of insurance field users expect “ease-of-use” in their solutions.

Farewell, Clipboard!

Most trained adjusters, contractors and insurance professionals have honed their workflows via a clipboard and analog toolset over the years. Shifting away from the “status quo” is inherently hard. To make the transition easier, new solutions must be easy to understand, easy to learn and easy to activate.

As someone gets increasingly comfortable with Spex, we see them truly value our “ease of use” emphasis. For example, we’ve created a photo capture interface that is actually easier to use than the built-in camera on your phone or tablet. The result is that Spex users take more photos and capture more data than they would if they were using their standard mobile device…and certainly more than if they are using an “old-school” digital camera.

Training on the Job

We’re obsessed with limiting the training time required for a field user to become adept at Spex. In 2016, we repeatedly measured the “aha” factor at three inspections or less–the number of inspections were a user recognized the true value and impact to their efforts via our platform as compared to the existing “status quo.”

We’re intent on bringing the “aha” moment down even further in 2017. We’ll achieve that through new approaches to data capture and continued streamlining of our UX, both in the field and at the desk. While we’re hesitant to believe there will ever be a day new Spex users are happy and thriving “out of the box” on inspection #1, we’re motivated to create a user experience easy enough to accomplish it.

Next Generation Workforce

Everyone knows that our industry is poised for a significant turnover in the workforce over the next decade. That transition will eliminate the “status quo” solutions like clipboards and graph paper. It will also enable a new field workforce that expects “ease of use” in everything they do. The Millennial generation had quality smartphones in their hands before they could drive a car. Organizations like Apple, which pioneered ease-of-use, raised the bar for all technology companies to follow.

 

Is Spex as easy to use as we believe it is? Are there areas where we can improve? We’d love your feedback and we’d love to show you exactly what we’re describing here. Please share with your Customer Success Representative or directly at support@spexreport.com today!

Brett Goldberg
CEO of Spex