August 4th, 2016  |  par GTI Canada  |  Technology

Investing Into UX/UI for an Efficient Filemaker Solution

The concept of user experience (UX) is the overall experience that a person has when using a system, app, software or website. Part of the UX, the user interface (UI) refers to the elements constituting the graphic appearance of the platform (visual or textual), and aims to simplify users’ interactions and make them more efficient.

Despite the growing popularity of these elements among developers and users of software solutions, many customers remain reluctant to allocate a sufficient budget to fully address its basic principles. This situation is particularly common among customers who operate the same solution for many years. Indeed, there was a time when hiring an interface designer was considered an unnecessary expense. Was it because at that time UX/UI notions were unrecognized, that developers knew little or nothing of their existence or that they simply were not able to demonstrate their benefits to their customers?

Fortunately, nowadays these concepts are becoming increasingly important. Clients have a better understanding of the impact on their platforms and users, while development firms are paying close attention to its components to meet the specific needs of their clientele. Proactive, GTI uses its expertise in this field to offer customized solutions meeting this new requirement.

Maximizing UX/UI by analysis

It is important to note that the efficiency and performance of a software solution does not only depend on the interface used. One of the key elements guaranteeing the effectiveness of a solution is the company’s workflow analysis. This is why, at GTI, the analysis step is an integral part of our project management process.

Indeed, a thorough study of the operations and daily tasks of future users is the starting point of a development process prioritizing customer needs. Gathering information about these aspects will ensure that the navigation and usage are optimized and adapted to their environment and business reality. This is crucial for a new solution as much as an existing one to which we would like to add new functionalities. While the process may seem long and arduous, it remains a key step. Ultimately, the client will profit from that situation, as highlighted by Alain Bouvier in his article “Le CPE, moteur de changements organisationnels”:

“To develop collective intelligence, learner systems focus on the process. Their difficulties and malfunctions almost always reside in the internal interfaces which are wrong, due to lack of thought or insufficient development. Organizational learning, one could say, begins with identification, formalization and an overhaul of the process.” [1]

UX/UI to facilitate training

In the technical jargon of the field, an application is commonly called a solution (for FileMaker, this name has also evolved over the years from database to solution and eventually to be known as a application). Often, developers lose sight of its primary objective. Namely, offer a solution that will improve employee efficiency and optimize customer operations.

What user has never asked himself how to proceed to achieve a particular task? This recurring situation causes significant rises in training costs simply to explain the basic principles of a solution. Needless to say, a minimum of training will always be necessary for a new employee or when a solution is upgraded. But it is possible to reduce these costs by developing a solution prioritizing facilitated learning and usage, two elements that will appear during the documentation and analysis of the organization’s workflow.

The importance of design in UX

This aspect of a solution must not be left out. Particular attention should be paid to certain details because they will make a significant difference in the overall user experience. It is here that the basic rules on page layout such as positioning, typographical and color choices, layout grid and alignment of elements to name a few, become of great importance.

To obtain a significant UX result, it is important to meet the following three criteria: functionality, usability, and user experience. Finding a balance between those aspects will be incumbent on the designer, who will dictate and direct the design integration in the development of the solution.

Concerning functionality, it goes without saying that the developed solution must respond initially to customer needs, before taking into account design principles. However, a good interface must find balance between usability of the interface and the user experience. We cannot meet one and forget the other and vice versa. A user interface is like a joke. If you need to explain it, it is not as good as you thought. It is therefore important to understand the user’s reality and the challenges they face daily to develop a solution that will achieve this usability objective.


Image from the presentation ”User Experience vs. Usability” by Jordan Watson from We.Know.Data, FileMaker Developer Conference 2016.


As for the user experience, emotions are particularly important. Some elements such as color, visual feedback, “amazing” effects, the emotional aspect and the company’s branding will help to achieve this goal. As I have often heard from other designers: “People will buy the picture and fall in love with the detail.”


Image from the presentation ”User Experience vs. Usability” by Jordan Watson from We.Know.Data, FileMaker Developer Conference 2016.


In conclusion, the UI and the principle of UX provide a finished product developed to take into account the client’s needs and their daily use. User-friendliness, simple user-adapted parameters and an appealing look are all benefits that ultimately will bring up productivity, and this is why they are a wise investment for your business solutions. In need of a user-friendly customised solution that fits your requirements? Do not hesitate to call on the expertise of GTI.

Jocelyn Ostiguy, Project manager, Analyst