It used to be that the user experience of software purchased by the military and other government agencies wasn’t an important factor in the purchasing decision. From the 1980s into the early 2000s, it was expected that most users had little software experience, so they would attend training sessions and perform tasks in the manner taught to them. Even as the computer literacy of users increased, there was little need for companies to improve their user experience, because switching to another software vendor was time-intensive and expensive.
That was the experience of the aerospace firm I worked with. Recently, however, two new factors have started to impact software purchasing decisions in a manner that was negative for this client. First, users are now approaching the software they use for their job with the expectations for ease of use that they have picked up from consumer software. Second, a competitor realized this, and started paying attention to the user experience. They created software that was easier to use, gaining marketshare in the process.
Knowing that their user experience was lacking compared to this competitor and that the poor UX was a factor in agencies choosing their competitor over them, a major aerospace firm asked World Wide Technology to perform a user experience evaluation of their software.