PLM and Re-thinking UI paradigms

PLM and Re-thinking UI paradigms

I’m spending more and more time with alternative UIs. It first started from mobile and web. Now it is coming from everywhere. Retrieving my old memories about SCO/Xenix, DOS and Windows, my hunch is we are going to another UI paradigm shift very soon. During this long weekend, I was reading Adopting the metro style for line of business apps blog post by Bil Simser. Take a read. The fact it is coming from analyzes of Windows Metro makes it even more interesting. I wrote about metro style few weeks ago in one of my posts.

A Typical PLM User Experience

Can you think about typical PLM/PDM user experience? It goes that way: TREE VIEW -> LIST VIEW -> ITEM VIEW. Most of PLM (and not only) user interfaces built around this paradigm. Therefore, the following passage co-sounded:

Metro is different. It forces you to think about your application in a different manner. No longer are you trying to get tree view feeding items into list view feeding details into file view. There are still groups and collection of groups and all that but remember your UI now is a functional, breathing, living thing. Minimalism is best here so you want to get out as much information in as effective space as possible. As Microsoft pointed out, a live tile isn’t something you should be posting every detail to. It’s an extension of the application so treat it as a first class citizen, not a UI element that needs to be pretty.

If you think about the following picture (credit to Bil Simser post), you probably will see a long list of applications that you have in use these days in your company.

New paradigms: Tasks and Virtual Assistant

Where do you think new paradigms will be coming from? In my view, the majority of them will come as a re-thinking of web 2.0 websites and mobile applications. One of my favorite applications for the last two years on my iPhone is Siri. I wrote about Siri almost two years ago here – What are your questions to PLM Virtual Assistant? I’m so glad to see Siri is finally coming to iPhone 4S these days.

What is my conclusion? I think, time is coming to re-think an old way of designing enterprise applications. It won’t be simple. The biggest problem, in my view, is a significant investment made by companies in existing software. So, the question of ROI, etc. will have to be answered. However, new users will demand new stuff to come. So, it is inevitable. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg


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