By Susan Avery
Sciquest has a new consumer-like look and feel.
The provider of cloud-based spend management solutions has enhanced its suite of business applications so that the user experience now replicates that of such sites as Amazon, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Prior to the update, users navigated the applications by selecting from a menu of items that had drop-down tabs. While this set-up worked functionally, the company determined that it probably wasn’t the best interface for end users, the buyers who use the apps daily to get their jobs done.
Sciquest replaced the tabs with clean slide-out menus. It also softened the look of the apps and changed some fonts for a more modern appearance.
“For lack of a better term, we decided to give the application a face lift,” Matt Boge, Product Manager at Sciquest, tells My Purchasing Center. “Our goal was to make sure that the appearance of the application fit with its capabilities. We wanted people to see a slick application and not have a dated look skew their opinion of it.”
Sciquest redesigned the application using feedback from its customers, the procurement professionals who administer it for the buyers in their companies. Administrators make up about 1% of the application’s users; most users are buyers, making the redesign somewhat challenging.
One of the first things the designers addressed was the application’s usability on a smart phone or tablet.
SciQuest introduced the application to its customers at its NextLevel user conference held recently in San Antonio, Texas. At the conference, the company demonstrated the application’s functionality to attendees and asked their opinion on its use.
SciQuest launched the new application this week, which has an opt-in feature so administrators can become familiar with the new look and feel before sharing it with buyers at their companies.
In addition to the new look and feel, the application also now provides users with notifications similar to those on Facebook and LinkedIn.
“We hear from customers that they need ways to remind users of tasks they need to accomplish, such as review of a new shopping cart,” says Boge.
Thinking behind the new version of the application is called progressive disclosure, making information that’s most important to the users’ tasks at hand more visible.
“That philosophy is most evident in the application’s navigation,” says Mark Pugh, Product Development Manager at Sciquest. “Progressive disclosure hides what’s not important so the user is focused on the call to action on the page.” For example, when a user is in a shopping cart and has finished adding items to the cart, the next step is checking out. Before, this next call to action was not clear to the user.
This new release also has features for accounts payable and tighter contract management integration, among others.
While Sciquest has three major releases each year, in March, July and November, this launch which updates the user experience was the first since 2005.
Susan Avery is Editor-in-Chief at My Purchasing Center. She writes articles, blogs and white papers and manages and creates other content for the online procurement and supply management publication. She produces and moderates roundtable discussions, podcasts, webcasts and video interviews. Susan has 30 years experience covering procurement and supply management for Purchasing magazine and Purchasing.com.
George E. Krauter
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