Sunday, 30 September 2012

Thoughts on the workday user interface

After sitting in many hours of workday demos and looking at the workday application a few thoughts on this topic:
  • It’s intuitive and user friendly. As the user looks at the screen, everything revolves around the ‘wheel’ concept. So imagine a clock, where each of the numbers are a different subject area (benefits, payroll, comp, etc.) As you choose ‘payroll’, you then get another wheel with the various payroll tasks available around the wheel: w2 update, deductions, etc.
  • The search functionality is divine. If you know part of a menu or topic, you type it into the search box in the top right and it brings up a list of topics that reference it.
  • It has much more of a modern web-feel, in comparison to other HR systems that I’ve seen in the past. Perhaps that is due to the fact that it’s not a product that has been around for 20 years and thus evolving based on a previous platform. Or maybe because it’s been designed in recent years, where user centric design, usability and user experience (UX) are more common topics and the norm rather than the exception.
  • Sidenote: if you are designing HR Systems or functionality from scratch (rather than implementing a SAAS out of the box like workday), Human Factors International is one of the best resources in the area of web design and usability.
  • The Management Dashboard and the drilldown available in the dashboard reports seems quite impressive. Granted, it requires that you’re storing all of the data that is utilized in the reports (we won’t be). For example, we saw overall reports of total comp, and we won’t have all of that data.
  • Also, there were concerns from our comp folks that the management reports went too far; so it allowed managers with employees in different countries to have currency conversions, to be able to compare employees around the globe. However, when taken only from a numbers point of view at face value, it makes the employee in Switzerland look much less attractive than the employee in Mexico, as the wage differential is enourmous. What the system doesn’t fully explain in such situations, is the whole topic in comp of paying market rates, and understanding where someone is in the band, etc. Otherwise, you get a knee-jerk reaction that all emps should be hired in low cost countries, if you are only looking at emp salary costs.
  • It is possible to get a glimpse of the user interface from the workday website. They offer some recorded ‘product previews’. They’re only little videos, under five minutes, and you do need to provide some registration data in order to view them. Also, they move pretty fast, although you can watch a few times. If you’ve never seen the application, they’re worth a quick look.

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