Workday revamps mobile interface, adopts flat design

Workday is aiming to make user experience a competitive advantage with frequent updates of the interface across its apps.

Workday on Tuesday rolled out a new mobile interface across its applications. The move, Workday's second visual refresh in 2014, is designed to put mobile on par with the desktop as well as create a more intuitive interface.

Enterprise software vendors are increasingly battling it out on interfaces. The reality is that enterprise applications have to look like their consumer cousins and be nearly as intuitive. For instance, Salesforce's analytics cloud will be adopted in part because of the interface, which features design cues from games. Oracle also recently outlined plans to knit together its applications and cloud services with one consistent look and feel.

Design thinking meets enterprise software: in pictures

For Workday, the aim is to continue to leverage design principles, incorporate feedback and refresh its look at a rapid clip due to its single code base. The company's latest interface changes adopt the flat design highlighted by Apple's iOS 8 as well as the material design principles featured in Google's latest Android release.

Joe Korngiebel, vice president of user experience, Workday, said the company is learning from previous interface iterations and embracing flat designs that started on the desktop. The new user experience is rolled out in a preview and customers can adopt the new look over a period of months, said Korngiebel.

He added that the new desktop design in January was adopted over four months. In January, 20 percent adopted with 30 percent waiting until the end of April to adopt it. The mobile adoption curve will probably be similar. Here's a look at the flatter design:

ipad_dashboard_workday
iphone_orgchart_workday
iphone_profile_workday

"We have a commitment to redesign and change the user experience," said Korngiebel. "With consumer apps you expect them to change and be fine-tuned. We have to do the same thing and be on par with what you see from iOS apps these days with simple design elements."

The new look for Workday is available immediately for iPhone and iPad customers on an opt-in basis. Android users of Workday will have to wait for Workday 24 in March. 

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