More and more, business professionals have rich, visual, interactive user experiences
with computer software outside the office. In 2008, 37 percent of U.S. consumers
played video games, and worldwide sales of video game software grew 11 percent.
By 2012 it is projected to be $68.4B global industry. Among younger consumers
the percentage of players and rates of growth were even higher.
Today, the people who increasingly make critical organizational decisions have
an entirely different expectation for human-computer interactions. Younger professionals
- particularly those entering the workforce - see technology in a completely
different way and demand the same game-like experience in business and enterprise
applications. In turn, this is requiring business intelligence and IT professionals
to rethink the way information is experienced.
The Problem with Business Software
Will game-like experiences be the norm in future business software? The answer
is increasingly "yes." The principles of visualization, interactivity,
immediate feedback, and contextual presentation of data that reflect the user's
role, task, and situation, are simply too compelling. Being fun helps, too.
The problem with today's business software is that unlike game software, it
is not typically optimized for how the user experiences information. Instead,
it is designed to optimize navigating the features of the software. Insufficient
thought is given to taking advantage of how human beings process information
to derive the greatest insight and take action in the context of a specific
Principles to Experience
Today, business professionals are making more top and bottom line decisions,
increasing the demand for relevant, real-time, domain-specific data delivered
in a game-like free-dimensional experience. How might that be accomplished?
The principles of better BI user experiences begin with VIIC: Visual, Interactive,
Immediate, and Contextual.
Humans best process and intuit information by seeing and interacting with data
and exploring patterns and relationships. Traditional business analysis software
is not set up to take advantage of these natural cognitive and perceptual abilities.
The complex and multifaceted layers of business information are usually presented
in a flat and static format. This forces users to remember things seen once
in order to understand data seen in another view; even though most people can
hold no more than seven separate units of information in short term memory at