Last month, Google announced Google Instant, which automatically pulls up search results as you’re typing. They claim Google Instant will save about 2-5 seconds per search. Doesn’t seem like much? It equates to roughly 350 million hours of saved time per year.
One small efficiency improvement, when spread over many users, can lead to massive time savings. The same is true for your business applications. How much time would your company save if your business applications were more efficient? Probably much more than you think.
How can you create more efficient applications? I’d like to share a few tips with you, all of which contain one underlying element: Efficient applications enable interaction without forcing the user to navigate off the page. For example, when you click a link in most applications, it opens up a new page. The user must wait for the page to open and then interact with the new page. This isn’t very efficient.
To increase your application’s efficiency, you must create applications that offer the same capabilities without forcing the user away from the application. Here are 3 ways to accomplish this:
Drag and drop
Take a look at this order shipment application. If you need to reschedule an order, just drag and drop the order to another day. In most applications, that same process would go something like this: Click on the order, type in a new date, and click “save” to reschedule that order. Drag and drop eliminates the need to move away from the original application, and in doing so, saves time.
Take a look at the order shipment application or this customer listing application. To learn more about an order, customer, or salesperson, you just hover over the item. In most applications, you would have to click on the item which would open up a new page containing the information. A quickview/hover provides instant information about an item without moving you away from the application.
In the order shipment application, each order is color-coded by shipping method. Also, orders over $10,000 have a little dollar sign next to them. This may not seem like much, but visual elements provide critical information about the order without forcing the user to navigate to another page.
These three tips let the user interact with the application without forcing them to navigate to another page. This saves time because the user has fewer mouse clicks and no longer has to wait for application pages to load. While the time savings might be minimal per user, when stretched out over many users, the time savings could be huge.