One of the ongoing directives in technology is the search for new ways to improve software quality. Of course, that’s a bit of a vagary isn’t it? Exactly how do we define quality, in the first place? There are so many factors, and so many different needs to consider, that asking someone how to improve something like this is going to get you a billion answers of varying usefulness.
But, when it comes to finding ways to improve software quality, it seems that the biggest aspects are reliability, smooth interactivity and of course, usability (which entails both responsiveness, logical design and ease of learning).
Well, improving these aspects are entirely different conundrums from one another, and the answers to some of these are not really defined well by anyone at this point. That may change in the future, but for now, the only things I can give you a solid answer for improving are usability and learnability.
And, truth be told, there exists a very powerful tool that can help cover both of these bases, if in a somewhat indirect way. This tool wasn’t really created, originally, to solve these problems, but the remarkably clever way it serves its original purpose is incredibly useful (much to the shock of some) to serve other purposes as well.
WalkMe, if you’ve never heard of it, was originally made as a tutorial creation system. What it does is, with the use of a visual point and click script and design system, create an easily programmed module which can live within web forms.
Once inside the web forms, it can monitor the states of web form elements, as well as lock them, overwrite them, and move the focus around. With this kind of solidarity, it can make logical choices based on these conditions. It will take actions like guide users to different parts of the form, prompt users on what to do, discern patterns to help confused users, and prevent potentially fatal mistakes.
This is useful as a training system to “learn by doing”, and get real work done while staff is trained to use a system. That, right away, helps to improve your quality by implementing it in your web based SaaS designs, because it provides a new, immediately gratifying and highly effective way of making the system learnable.
In stead of having to read a lot of training material before using the software, people can just start using it right away, and learn as they go.
Along with this, it can also be used for usability tests and other situations, thanks to its pattern analysis, ability to ask users questions, and capture analytics alongside training.
This solves the problems of quality when it comes to usability and learnability of a system. It can’t make your software impossible to crash, nor can it make it completely “idiot proof”, but it can get you as close as is ever likely to be practical.
This intelligent onboard concept has also opened up customer satisfaction channels, self service models and much more. In science fiction, we see on board AI helping operate complex software and computer interfaces.
As software increases in its diversity and complexity, the practice of “dumbing it down” design-wise will lose practicality. AI like that is an inevitability, if we want to continue to improve software quality. WalkMe isn’t a true AI, but I will stake my claim on it being the direct ancestor of it. History will vouch for this, believe me.