We live in a visual world. The information we get to see contains more and more visual elements. And that makes sense, because in comparison with plain text we find visual information much more attractive to consume, our brain processes it faster and it remains in our brain much better.
How it’s used in business software
In the world of business software, information is also presented visually more often. Think of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in (bar) graphs or pie charts. Some applications offer complete management dashboards for real-time monitoring of the company’s performance. And planning of resources is very often graphically nowadays; a clear overview, easy to change the planning with drag & drop and fully integrated with other modules of the system.
Three advantages of visual business information
It is not without reason that business information is increasingly presented visually to the user. It has some important advantages:
- Work more pleasantly: lots of text and bare figures can be quite valuable, but it is much more pleasant to get the same information from, for example, a dashboard.
- Work faster: we consume the information in a pie chart or graph in a split second. That may not seem like a big deal, but during the working day it saves you a considerable amount of time.
- Better to memorize: we can store visual information much better in the brain than boring words and figures.
Visual information is particularly useful with 'big numbers'; the figures on which people base important decisions and the figures that are shown in management reports frequently. But sometimes you want to make a 'drill-down' to, for example, find out about that one specific sales order. Good business software provides both: visual information that supports your decision-making, but the ability to zoom in to the smallest detail as well.
Philip van Kemenade is marketer at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.