Making Quality Management Software User-Friendly

Here is the inside story on the recent TrackWise 9 QMS Software release. This interview was conducted by Gregg Klein, Director of Product Management and the responses were given by Mike Edwards, Product Manager for TrackWise.

Q: What are your top goals with designing TrackWise 9? 

A: We have consistently heard from our customers that users who don’t log in to TrackWise QMS regularly, are often intimidated by it. Our top goal was to help the casual user quickly find what they were looking for. To accomplish that, we implemented an interface that was influenced by the design of the world’s most popular websites.

Q: How did Sparta’s UX team approach the task of making TW more user friendly?

A: We took a varied approach. First and foremost, we looked to our current customers for guidance on what would make the application friendlier for their users. After that, we took a long look at some of the world’s most popular consumer websites, like LinkedIn, Amazon, and Gmail. The notion there, was to organize the application in a way that would be familiar to most users.

Q: What are some common mistakes you see in software design?

A: Making decisions based solely on what you would want as an end user.  Although that design or flow makes sense to you, that may not be the case for your users.  That’s why we seek feedback from our end users. It helps validate whether our assumptions are correct.

Q: Could you give an example of how a feature evolved because of user feedback?

A: The ‘quick action panel’ is a great example. Our initial designs for the panel involved a significant amount of configuration effort. After speaking to users, we determined it was unnecessary. We redesigned the feature based on the content a casual user would need in that panel the most.  It was a huge improvement from our initial design.

Q: What new feature are you most excited about in TW 9?

A: The introduction of ‘views’. It’s a combination of a ‘scope & query’ that can be bookmarked. In the past, we’ve heard that ‘scope’ can be a confusing concept for new users. With a bookmarked view, users can access information faster and more easily.

Q: Is this the same approach taken in other Sparta QMS platforms?

A: Yes. We are creating common UI components for all Sparta QMS software platforms. We want to have a consistent user experience across all products so that the user of one product can easily jump to another with little to no learning curve.  Another benefit to using a common UI language, is that we reduce our development time, and can put out new releases faster.

Q: How will you measure the success of TW 9?

A: For me, success will be hearing that our customers are spending less time training their users.  And, hearing that users who currently rely on more experienced users, are now working in TW directly.   

Q: What is the future vision for TW from a design and UX perspective?

A: Creating a seamless experience that brings together all parties or stakeholders involved in a quality incident. We’re helping our clients extend their automated quality processes to suppliers, contract manufacturers, and others in the external supply network. From a user experience perspective, that means creating a common, simple design across every Sparta platform. 

To learn more about TrackWise 9 and the newest features, download the data sheet.