If your internal tools aren’t the same quality and sexiness as your client-facing tools, then your employees aren’t going to be as excited as they could be and won’t be selling your company as well as they could.
While working at Bookr, our design motto was “dead simple; dead sexy.” It’s something that I think is a great, simple goal that most everyone in the company can eat least target. We applied this to our product and customers loved the way it looked. I’ve carried that through (internally) for Blueprint, although I don’t think that “sexy” quite fits our brand here as it did for Bookr.
On almost every project I’ve worked on, we put a lot of effort on client-facing parts of the product and tools that are used internally (often called “admin” screens) just don’t get the same treatment.
Have you ever called up a company on the phone and had to wait while the representative has to navigate an extremely complex system or set of systems to get your information? Ok, have you ever called a company at not had that experience? Doesn’t that frustrate you as a customer? Quite often, I’ve had representatives apologize for the poor quality or capabilities of their software. As a software developer, I don’t want this ever to happen with my products.
So in the last two companies, I’ve been working to promote as much, or nearly as much, effort on the design and thoughtfulness and usefulness of “admin” screens as I do on the client facing stuff.
For Blueprint, not only are our clients using the product directly, but account managers and analysts use the product for consultative services. They get the benefit of client-facing tools, but when they cross into the “admin” parts of the site I don’t want them to feel put off. We are constantly looking at the tools we have built for managing, tracking and maintaining client accounts and client information — tools that clients don’t have access to — and they way we use those tools to try to make sure they can be simple and sexy.