Relative Compatibility

The relative compatibility of an application refers to its fit with the end user's other frequently used applications. For example, the new application may not define customer and product information in the same way that other applications do, which would require some retraining. The new system should fit with the way the end user is accustomed to viewing the world, rather than require the end user to keep two "sets of books." If the new systems do not mesh easily with other systems and procedures with which the end user is familiar, this is a strong indicator of the need for substantial training.

The best-case development scenario would result in systems that have a high relative advantage for the end user, that are not complex compared with the end user's capabilities, and that fit with the other activities, perspectives, and systems of the end user. To do so, it is critical for the system designers to be able to see the application from the perspective of the end user. The important point to realize is that ease of use is defined differently by systems developers who are experts and accustomed to dealing with complexity and by intermittent users who want to spend as little time as possible handling systems problems.

Users Are All Different Complicating the issue of understanding the end- user perspective is the fact that there is never a single, monolithic end user. End users possess differing levels of expertise, patience, and dedication. Some will spend most of their day inputting and inquiring directly into the system. Others will be intermittent users.

Also, some systems cross corporate boundaries, involving either suppliers or customers. Therefore, the range of expertise extends from experts to intermittent users, and includes individuals directly under the control of the organization and others who are not. Some of the latter users can often be the most important to business success. If its systems are too difficult to use, a company may face the loss of valued customers.

The requirement to understand the end-user perspective in all its complexity is a strong argument for embedding systems analysts within end-user organizations, where they can get to know and identify more closely with the end users. It is also an argument for using a prototyping approach to systems design whenever possible to obtain user feedback as often as possible. Highly structured applications (i.e., transaction processing systems) should prototype the user interface. Where applications are less structured (i.e., decision support systems or executive support systems), designers would want to prototype both the user interface and as many aspects of system functionality as possible.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment