By David Brain
A Preface on Usability
In this chapter of our RPA Technical Insights, we explore the benefits of usability. Usability is measured by how intuitive it is to develop and configure processes, and administer those processes within the RPA tool. We enjoy using software that is simple to use, and RPA tools are no exception. Thus, usability can ultimately help your business develop automations at a faster rate with less risk of errors.
Introducing Interface Design
One of the most well-known facets of usability is the design of the interface. RPA development hinges on providing a clear, workable interface. This feature is what makes it accessible not only to programmers but also tech-savvy business users. It is also what drives the process modeling capabilities that make RPA the perfect fit in business operations. Poor visual design can lead to errors in code becoming harder to spot and longer development times. This blog will cover visual design elements in detail. We will give you pointers on the most significant features to take note of when selecting the right RPA tool.
Drag and Drop
What makes RPA intuitive is the lack of a typical programming interface. This is no better exemplified then the ability to drag and drop process activities. For instance, building automation workflows involves working in a 2-D flowchart environment. Being able to drag new activities to attach to the current work in progress is often the fastest and easiest method of construction. In addition, the capability to insert or shift old elements through click and drag movements allows a reorganization of the workflow within seconds. All of this means that you can swiftly navigate workflows with virtually no learning curve.
Optimal usability comes with a proper mix of user-friendliness and configurability. However, the best RPA tools compromise on this trade off with configuration assistance: Simple tips such as activity or parameter descriptions reduce the need to memorize every functionality while retaining high levels of configuration. These extra details can be especially useful in bolstering the training process. Ultimately, RPA tools that include configuration assistance are easier to train on and work with.
In addition to all the facets of RPA software that make an automation beginner’s (or expert’s) life easier, it helps in general to have a cohesive interface that makes it hard to make mistakes. For example, some RPA tools make structure-sensitive modules that guide the user’s actions. Rather than instruct users with long-winded details, inappropriate actions might be grayed out or omitted completely. When interfaces are presented well, they encourage faster adoption and mastery of the RPA tool.
Proper interaction design can truly simplify automation development. Some features like drag and drop transform workflows into an environment we are all familiar with. Others like configuration assistance or cohesive interactions augment the user’s capabilities and bolster the training process. By providing extra degrees of usability, RPA tools reduce friction in the learning and development process. For your business, this could translate into accelerated digital transformation.
Each of the features listed here can affect your entire RPA deployment from start to finish. However, they have only touched the surface of usability. To help your business make the right decisions when it comes to RPA, look out for the next blogs in the usability chapter and check out more content from our experts.
This is part 5 of a 22 part blog series by the leading experts at Symphony Ventures. It addresses how to choose the right RPA tools for your business needs. Drawing from our global team’s extensive knowledge in automation consulting, implementation, and managed services across a range of diverse industries, we’ve drilled into the technical criteria to consider when selecting which RPA software best enables your company’s digital operation strategy. Read part 4, Optimizing Your Virtual Workforce with Process Administration.