Scalability and User Interfaces.

A friend of mine was showing me the brand new web based ERP system that was developed for his medium sized company. He was very happy with its usability and ease of use. He showed me how you can drag and drop employees on the organization chart to change their positions. It was really easy to use.

But it had one flow, it was not scalable. Usually when we talk about scalability in our business we mean how an application can be able to take a larger number of users without changing it. But here was a slightly different type of scalability, user interface scalability. Simply put drag and drop works very well for small data sets. When he was showing me the drag and drop on the org chart there were only a few dozen people on the org chart. If that org chart was fully populated with hundreds of people drag and drop would be much harder since you will need to scroll. Now imagine that you have a thousand employees, not only will you need to scroll a lot but you will also need to filter or search to find the correct person.

There are solutions to make drag and drop scale, like adding filters and having a two pane screen where you filter in one part of the screen and then drag and drop to the other part of the screen, but in all such cases the speed and ease of use of drag and drop is reduced, and more logical choices for large data sets will be better. One such choice is the right click and move to menu that is common in many email clients. You right click on the element you want to move, you select move and then you get a filterable selection box of where you want to move your element. Of coarse the issue with right click these days is that you can not implement it well for the ipad for that you need to read my blog post about the ipad and its effect on web design.

So what seamed like a good interface will actually be useless once the number of employees grows or once you start to actually deploy the system and put your data in it.

 

At El Motaheda Web we are well aware of these issues and we choose the systems that we offer you with care. Most systems we use will work equally well for a small company as for a large company with thousands of users.

Let us take a small example from WebGUI which is the content management system we use to power all our web sites and the web sites of our clients. Although WebGUI has drag and drop within a content page, where you can re-arrange parts of a page by dragging and dropping, you have a different interface for rearranging the pages withing a web site. Why, simply because if generally you will not have more than 10 elements in a web page, so drag and drop is perfect, but you can have thousands of pages in a web site and here drag and drop is not really suitable. WebGUI can handle thousands of pages easily, our site mashy.com has over 50,000 pages and the official portal of the Ahly club ahlyegypt.com nearly as many pages as mashy.com.

 

One last point, unlike others we only sell our clients solutions that we have tested and that we stand behind completely.

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