I have mentioned many times that the latest, coolest UI technology doesn’t mean that an application has good usability. Good design requires ingenuity and creativity but it also requires discipline and a focus on details.

I you want to check how seriously a vendor takes usability, do this simple test. Have a look at the error messages. I’m not talking here about witty 404 errors, but the stuff that happens when the payroll currency  conversion field is incomplete.

If they are up to date, accurate and easy to to understand, chances are the application is too. If there are spelling mistakes, missing entries and unintelligible codes then the vendor’s commitment to usability is skin deep. 

Error messages aren’t hip, glamorous, or agile, but they are a window into the development ethos. Error messages are the canvas in a suit. 

Ask for a list of all error messages when you do your next vendor evaluation. You will learn more about the vendor’s commitment to usability and product quality than you will fathom from a slick demo.

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