Christmastime: Horrible Usability and Horrible Process.

None of the fundamental kindnesses extended to normal web users are present in the “Request Absence” functionality in the PeopleSoft HRMS we’re using.  This mouse-intensive, navigationally-clunky, barely-usable interface would be rejected by any of our user-experience teams in the outside-customer-facing projects.  Three kinds of thing frustrate me most about the horrible experience of having to comply with a make-your-christmastime-plans-before-the-end-of-October ruling:

  • Experience: the entire experience seems to be geared up so the somebody with an extremely unusual absence-type and absence-take-type will be able to submit their request for approval.  However, catering for this one imaginary person and this one fascinatingly-unlikely combination of leave/absence conditions guarantees the 99% of cases (take some annual leave or report sick time) an extremely and needlessly difficult time, and mainly because of the usability shortcomings.
  • Usability: the request-absence functionality doesn’t do any useful defaulting, and lacks even the basic courtesy of defaulting the end date to the same month and year as the nominated start date.  For requests that fall due in the next calendar year, users are presented with a drop-down Year list that starts in 1900 and runs through until the year 2100!
  • Process: we have about 6,500 employees, and every one of them is having to look at their calendars and figure out which are the public holidays and which are University holidays and which need to be taken as annual leave and then pass successfully through the dreadful HR self-service environment — i’m struggling with the participation and compliance costs that must be associated with this exercise, and believe there is a Simply Better Way.

For all this, i’m nearly finished the task of loading up my leave for summer, and i really hope it matches with what my family wants me to be doing two months from now.


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