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ERPNext UI Intimidating to new users. What can we do about it?

ui

#1

My team and I have been selling ERPNext for nearly a year now, and we’ve observed a problem in the sales process. I wish to share this with the community to see if others are also experiencing it and share how some of us may be overcoming it.

The Problem

Usually the sales process will be smooth until we get to the demo. The most common scene is a user going quiet when the see the UI. Then they’ll say something like “it looks too complicated”, or “I wanted something a lot simpler.” This happens with almost 50% of our demos. We’re not the best salespeople nor the best at demo’ing, but during the last 5 years of our IT consultancy ERPNext has attracted the most comments of this kind.

Our solution?

One of the solutions we’ve resorted to is hiding a lot of the modules, example when demo’ing on retail, we’ll only show Stock, Accounts, Purchasing. This seems to slightly improve things. The next thing we’re looking to doing is applying UI themes and testing with new prospects.

Lets Share!

Please share your experience presenting ERPNext, whether you’ve encountered this problem, and how you are solving it (if not, how are you doing your demo’s). Let us also share the best ERPNext themes and the methods used to hide modules especially in a multi-tenant setting with different module usage. If you are suggesting a theme please include a screenshot to give others a preview.

Lastly, there’s a great initiative by @joshreeder to redesign the UX (User Experience). Please take a look at the Desk 2.0 initiative and contribute towards its development if you can.

Please note: This is not a post to criticize ERPNext or Frappe, the Frappe Team gives us a great and steadily improving product that we, the ERPNext Community, must contribute towards improving in whatever capacities we can.


#2

2 Things:

1. The Demo Effect

I have both heard about and experienced this “effect”. Which is: What ever it may be, it will look too complicated. You know the system too well, and move through it so smoothly it makes it look complicated, so they just see a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Explaining the model of ERPNext (Doctype, View, Report), and showing how that applies everywere may help.

2. Show Other Options

We used to use Salesforce for a while, and stopped because it was waaaaaayyy too complicated, and very user-unfriendly. Therefore, if you compare to options like this to ERPNext, it wont be so complicated anymore.

(This is just my experience, but it could be different in your case)


#3

This is interesting.

Let me share our experience when it comes to demo of ERPNext.

We log in to the system and keep silent for a few seconds while the prospects stare at the screen.

Then we ask them the money question

“What does this remind you of ?”

At some point someone will say , “the home screen of a phone/tablet”

And we jump on that. We tell them that most of the new staff they are recruiting will most likely be under 30 years , the iPhone is over 10 years old and this tile based phone interface is basically the only interface this new generation has ever seen.

We explain that making ERPNext interface look this way makes it very familiar to this new generation of workers and thus makes it easy for them to be trained on as well as accept the system.

And then we take it from there, talking about how flexible it is and how easy it is to add/remove or create tiles representing features or modules.

With this premise firmly entrenshed we have never had anyone subsequently complain about the interface.

Wanna try this approach ?

Olamide


#4

I like that approach and will try it next time I do a demo.

Although I must say that removing some/a lot of the desktop icons and only show the ones that are relevant to the business will definitely bring more simplicity and clarity to the workflow.


#5

Wow… I like the sound of your approach @olamide_shodunke. We’ll try it out.

@chabad360 I agree we should be looking at things from our knowledgeable perspective. Thank you!


#6

It helps to make the first screen with less icons, and people generally like it. But in the next step when you go into any other menu, you see always too many titles, links, and then people somehow automatically think they should learn to use all those links at once. It is very much psychological effect but it doesn’t normally help even if you explain e.g. that “you need only these three links in the beginning”. People get frustrated and anxious.


#7

Yes they do. Telling them you don’t need to learn all these modules, the usual response is a request to remove the unwanted modules. It would be good to have a built-in ability to hide modules. For now one can change the code as shown here (not healthy for updates though).

Thanks for your answer @generare !


#8

I agree with the challenge that long forms with “links” to other elements and their forms can pose. One simple solution could be to collapse more things so that the main elements remain and in a simple demo case you can see all relevant fields on one screen.

To demo the power you can then expand the sections as needed. But you can say: "Look, everything that is collapsed here can be populated automatically by rules that we will define and code during your onboarding project. So you don’t need to bother about these now.

I like the initiative of improving the ERPNext UI. The professional way to do this, would be user tests. We have had very good experience with Lookback. If anyone would be willing to carry this out and share the recordings with this community I would happily fund the 100 USD per month for the license of the software.