How Not to Design a Dashboard (or a customer survey): Concur’s Expense & Travel Tool

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I’m fairly forgiving toward UI in general.  I’m a realist — I get that for many companies user experience design just doesn’t float to the top (even if it that saddens me).

But sometimes, it is just so breathtakingly obvious that the user experience is at the bottom on the heap that I can’t help but gasp and rant a bit (sometimes I wish I could host a “What Not to Design” show).

Case in point:


This is the dashboard for Concur, an expense management and travel booking tool for SME & larger enterprise businesses.  Yes, this is the first screen you see after you log in.  Oh yeah, you see this each and every time you log in too.

The text — oh the text.  I don’t even want to talk about the sea of words, the use of color (red!), the forced bilingualism, the fact that I can’t even dismiss any of the messaging… 

And I’m not really sure how it is “my” Concur – as there are no apparent settings to personalize the panels and it certainly does not learn from my interactions.  I don’t even use the tool to book travel, yet that’s all I see on the dashboard!

(Out of curiosity, I took a peek at “Profile” just to make sure there wasn’t some advanced/expert way of tailoring this entry experience.  Nope.  I especially enjoy how some of the navigation is repeated not twice, but three times.  And forget having any indication of where you are within the system or the concept of wayfinding).


But the cherry on top is that when I exit, I’m asked to complete a survey that will apparently “make us (Concur) better.”  Even if I have already completed the survey, it will still sometimes ask me again.  In general, I’m not a big fan of using surveys or polls  – I often find that they don’t disclose enough information and they are based on opinion rather than behaviors.  But sometimes they do have their use, especially when it’s something really discrete that you need feedback on.  This is not one of those times. 


My favorite part is that the only true feedback mechanism, the “review” portion, is limited to 250 characters.  That is approximately 50 words, or about 3 average length sentences. What is this?  The twitter of user feedback?!  In the end, my original gasp gave way to a fit of giggles. 

Please, Concur, get thee some UX help.

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