• 4th July 2018 at 1:00PM
  • Written by Nick Smee, CEO at Yotta
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I love to see demos of our software to prospective users, particularly when they are seeing Alloy or Horizons for the first time. There’s nothing quite like watching their reaction as they move from natural scepticism to delight at what they are being shown. In an industry that failed to deliver differentiated user experience (UX) for decades, it’s comforting to see the recognition that that is changing and that innovation has arrived.

Of course, not everyone is impressed and it’s that that has caused me to put virtual pen to paper.

On occasion I will hear something such as, “Yes, it’s very pretty, but I’m more interested in real substance and I’m not sure that Alloy/Horizons has that”. Given that our business has several decades of experience in the successful delivery of Asset Management products and services, I can only conclude that what they’re really saying is, “It can’t be pretty and powerful”.

That’s where Mr Beckham comes in. I’ve always believed that he never got enough credit for his talent. Why? Well his image overshadowed his performances on the pitch and more focus was put on how he looks and what he wore. Yet, Beckham was a phenomenally successful footballer, with winner’s medals and titles galore. The fact that he was also a style icon and good-looking did not detract from his ability to help his teammates succeed. His Manchester United teams also played a style of football that was very easy-on-the-eye, full of attacking intent and goals, they dominated for a generation, sparring with Arsenal, who also favoured a beautiful version of the game. Neither team needed to put such emphasis on style; history is full of very austere teams winning trophies, it’s just that no one really got much pleasure or enjoyment from watching them and their success was short-lived.

Before I lose myself in a commentary of the different styles of football or footballers, the point I’m making is this: attractiveness and effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. In fact, when mixed properly the combination of both qualities is exceptionally hard to beat. It is as true for software as it is for football.

At Yotta, huge focus is put on ensuring that the user experiences that our customers enjoy are going to be exceptional. I want them to gain the maximum benefit from their investment and I believe that providing UX that makes that process easy and enjoyable is key. Yotta will never cease in trying to improve in that regard.

One of the very hardest tasks in software design is to provide elegance on the surface without detracting from the power beneath it. There’s no escaping that it’s a tough process to get right and most software businesses fail. They abandon their UX vision to bring to the surface complexity and power. It benefits the software company and maybe a few power-users, but it does not encourage use and therefore it does not maximise ROI.

Yotta is not one of those businesses. We are obsessed by the process and will never separate UX from substance. If we cannot combine the two, we would no longer wish to provide products and services in that area. I think that apps on smart phones are a great example of the importance of this process. In such a highly competitive area, users focus their time on apps that not only do their tasks well but that they do them in a fashion that the users enjoy. If they don’t, they find a rival that does and uninstall the original.

David Beckham worked hard at both aspects to gain the success he had on and off the pitch. He got the balance right to ensure that focus on one area led to increased results in the other. He, in my opinion, is the perfect example of capability and creativity being enhanced through beautiful UX.

I like to think that if Alloy and Horizons were footballers, they’d be just like David Beckham.