Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hospitality Software: The Right Ingredients

hospitality software
Designing good software is like baking a delicious cake. You need high quality ingredients to create a solid base otherwise the cake is dry, bland, and no one wants to eat it. With software, you need to start with high quality and plentiful data, otherwise your application will be dry, bland, and no one will want to use it.

Data is the lifeline of a valuable tool. It can mean the difference between creating a product that will stand the test of time, or creating a fad that will be useful only until the user gets bored and moves on to the ‘next thing’.

Unfortunately, data is not the only necessary component of creating a successful product. The user interface is also another major ingredient to the overall balance. Without a well designed user experience, the product won’t be all that it should be, and if bad enough, it may even limit the growth of the product line, or even drive customers to a competitor to seek out a better experience.

To understand these challenges in a little more depth, a few of us attended Visual Studio Live! hosted on the Microsoft campus a few weeks ago. It was a great opportunity to see in person some of the great new tools, a few ways that software is currently being developed, and get a glimpse into the future of our profession. With the way that tools develop and the rate at which they evolve, we never fully understood where a particular product line will be in a few years. This remains true not only for our own products but also for the technology and the tools that we utilize in order to bring these great products to our customers. Needless to say, the conference was a great experience, one that re-energizes development teams with new methodology ideas and new concepts which, if used properly, should provide a very exciting future here at MeetingMatrix.

One of the most important lessons I took away from the conference, was the idea of flexible and dynamic data presentation to the user. It is no longer a user interface, not something that the user interacts with, but rather something the user experiences. It may be a subtle difference, but the shift in paradigm is certainly striking. Rather than design a way for the user to interact with buttons, menus, or screens, the focus is instead on how the user will experience the data. Having all necessary information readily available and done in such a way that the user won’t have to think about the process will determine how successful software will be in the near future.

We have already tested and are using these new concepts in our current applications, and will be incorporating them in future products still in the planning stages. With all these new tools and ideas at our disposal, the very near future is an extremely exciting time to be involved with development. Our products should only become more stable, professional, and integrated with the hospitality industry’s needs and desires. We will bring powerful tools to the fingertips of our customers no matter where they need to do business, and in such a way where they won’t need to think about how to use it, only what they need it to do.

Jeremy Short
Software Engineer

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