What is a look-like system and how does it work?
A look-alike system has a familiar interface and feel to the current way that the process is undertaken. While simple on the outside with easy to use interfaces that users are accustomed to, it works very hard in the back end to amalgamate complex processes.
Why are look-alike systems not used more regularly?
Generally, it's hard to make a look-alike system, it requires a lot of time and research, and you must know the industry extremely well to be able to make look-alike system work simply and effectively. Domain knowledge is key, which is why some software that lack the industry expertise struggle by making clunky and overcomplicated systems.
What are the benefits?
By making software look like processes people are already familiar with you will see the adoption rates can increase tenfold. Coupled with low learning curves, intuitive software that users can easily navigate without vast amounts of training appeals to a wider audience including people with a lower tech IQ. Therefore, return on investment is generally higher than a more complex system as there is less downtime for training and getting used to the system and a better adoption rate across the company.
Traditional software interfaces versus look-alike systems.
We have seen, generally, in traditional software systems that they bring a new interface with multiple layers and dropdowns with a new way of working to companies or individuals that use software. As a result, large amounts of bulky documentation is needed to navigate users.
Look-alike systems generally look like existing interfaces such as traditional document-based systems for data input and alike, generally they have dashboards and other graphs that are simplistic in nature. Documentation would therefore be lower as there would be less to learn due to it being simpler in its approach.
Key features in look-alike systems.
Familiarity is Key
As there is a little learning curve, the user of the software can undertake their work without hurdles or difficulty. Users will choose to use the product over a competitor’s software that is foreign and abstract to them. As the user undertakes tasks on the well-known solution, cognitive strain is reduced, allowing the process to go more quickly and efficiently. The user will want to use the software as it is a good experience for them.
Clarity enables the user to have trust in the system, intuitively knowing where inputs and outputs will be. Clean user interface and execution of tasks that are clearly laid out with a clear flow means users feel comfortable with the software and want to make use of the system.
Empathy is Necessary
People have shorter attention spans when it comes to software, they generally need it to work instantaneously or there is a large amount of drop off. The software should keep the user engaged with clear steps and a flat structure to guide them through the process. Truly understanding your audience and their intent will allow the system to predict what they want it to do.
Trying to understand how the user will feel the first time they pick the software up, the second time or the 20th time. Discovering how the software makes the end user feel is vitally important on connecting on an emotional level to ensure that there is no frustration and they feel that the software benefits them as well as other stakeholders.