HR technologists have recently jumped on the bandwagon of good design, which is awesome. It’s about time.
What is good design? Dieter Rams offered ten principles for good design, and it applies to almost everything in life.
Simply speaking, good design is something that works, is useful, and makes your experience as effortless as possible. If you are physically impaired, good design helps you live your life to the fullest without laboring too much throughout the day. If you work in a factory, good design helps create a product in an efficient manner with as little waste as possible and without injuring anyone in the area.
Good design in HR technology means that you can interact with a platform in a simple, clear, direct way. You can accomplish your tasks and find answers without straining your eyes, your body, or your brain. And maybe the designer makes choices and finds answers for you before you even ask the question, making you look smarter to your boss.
While HR technologists are crazy about good design, I have yet to see many design-first solutions that make good choices for the user and solve everyday problems for HR. Designers and developers say that there are compliance requirements that place an undue burden on human resources technology. Regulations are rigid, and rules on safety and security get in the way of good design.
I think that’s nonsense. Every industry has compliance issues. You factor those challenges into your design and development process.
I also hear that human resources departments use a wide array of devices and browsers, so it’s hard to design for everything from Windows 8 to the latest iPad.
I mean, sure, it’s tough. That’s why you get paid the big bucks.
As the HR conference season picks up, I am anxious to see what’s new in the market. If your HR technology platform is hard on the eyes, I don’t know how you appeal to the older generation of leaders in the market who have the budget to buy your software. And I certainly don’t know how you can make fans out of the new crop of HR workers who have to click six boxes before you serve up a search result.
The only design acceptable in HR technology is good design. The rest is just amateurish.
Laurie Ruettimann is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur based in Raleigh, NC. She’s working on her next book about fixing work due out in 2020.