Learning Curve Is Important to Custom Software Development

As different as custom business software can be compared to off-the-shelf solutions, it does have something in common with those other one-size-fits-all options: the learning curve. Every piece of software has one. From our perspective, software development needs to keep the learning curve in mind. It’s a big deal.

The learning curve in a software environment relates to the amount of time and effort necessary to become proficient with that particular package. It is often expressed as a line graph that takes into account both the time spent and the amount of effort required.

Software learning curves generally begin with a rather steep incline before leveling off later on. As specialists in custom software development, we have come to understand that minimizing the learning curve as much as possible makes for happier and more productive clients.

Mastering New Software Is Hard

Learning curves exist for the simple fact that mastering new custom business software is hard. Learning anything new has its challenges. But for so many people, software is more obscure than it is tangible. Even though it might be presented with a graphical user interface, understanding a new software package’s functions can be elusive.

A new package’s learning curve matters because it influences how easily and thoroughly workers learn and adapt to it. The steeper the curve, the more difficult proficiency is. The more there is to learn, the less likely employees are to master it.

Things That Exacerbate the Learning Curve

It is impossible to build any type of software for small businesses without a learning curve being part of the user experience. There is learning involved with every piece of software regardless of its purpose. But know that there are things that can exacerbate the learning curve to the point of making it more difficult than it needs to be:

  • Software Complexity – One of the unwritten rules of software development is that complexity adds to the learning curve. The more complex a package is, the more difficult it is to learn and master.

  • Software Familiarity – The practical impact of the software learning curve is influenced by a user’s familiarity with software, both in a general sense and relating to other software similar to the package being learned.

  • User Willingness – Along with familiarity is a user’s willingness to master the new package. There are those workers who will always be extremely resistant to change. There will be others who embrace it enthusiastically.

  • Training and Resources – The impact of a software package’s learning curve can be minimized with proper training and sufficient help desk resources. On the other hand, expecting users to be proficient in software for which they receive no training is foolish.

There is no escaping the learning curve. Whether your company uses custom business software or an off-the-shelf solution, new software must be learned and mastered. But there are advantages to custom business software development.

Minimize the Learning Curve

Our position is that software complexity is the number one factor in determining a package’s learning curve. When companies choose custom business software, they can get solutions designed with only the features they need. Keeping unnecessary features out reduces complexity and keeps the learning curve manageable.

Custom business software also tends to come with custom training. Nothing helps reduce the impact of the learning curve quite like solid training provided by people who understand all the finer details of the software itself.

The learning curve is important to software development because it ultimately affects user experience and productivity. We design with all of this in mind. Is there any other way to do it?

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