Silhouette of construction workers at building site; simple construction software concept

The Case for Simple Construction Software: Training Doesn’t Always Stick

Back in 2016, software engineer Gerard Toonstra came up with a great description of what it means for software to be simple.

A simple digital tool, Toonstra wrote, is something that your tech people can easily shape to the needs of your business, and it’s something that non-tech people can easily describe to another person.

It’s that second aspect of simplicity that we focus on at eSUB. We want our software to be so intuitive and easy to understand that you could explain it to a new hire while on the job site.

Why is simple construction software so important in this industry specifically? Because software that requires dedicated training tends not to get used.

It’s Hard to Train Trade Contractors on New Tools and Processes

This isn’t a knock on the tech savviness of construction crews — far from it. It’s just that the construction sector tends to leave little room for training up people on new ways of working.

Brad Humphrey, host of The Contractor’s Best Friend podcast, wrote in 2017 about how little on-the-job training in general happens in specialist contracting trades. Often, training gets overlooked because, one, company owners prefer to hire experienced tradespeople and, two, “contractors are better ‘doers’ than trainers,” Humphrey writes.

And even when training does take place, it finds resistance among experienced tradespeople. “Experienced professionals prefer to do things their way,” business writer Andrew McDermott writes. “They’re resistant to any undesirable culture, performance or procedural changes new employers impose.”

Architect with hardhat on construction site checking tablet; simple construction software concept

And No One Wants to Use Difficult Software

For years, Austin-based software development company Upland Software has tracked user behaviors across the thousands of apps it’s built.

One long-term stat jumps out: About one in four people abandon (i.e. uninstall) an app after one use. “Increased abandonment is normally an unfortunate side effect of not leading users to value quickly enough after they open an app,” they write.

In other words, when someone opens a piece of software and doesn’t immediately see how the tool can be useful for them, there’s a good chance they’ll close the app and never look at it again.

The key for those of us who build software is to make a good first impression. When someone first opens an app, its value should be clear, and its design should encourage people to explore more.

“User experience is always crucial, but it’s especially important during onboarding,” the team at Gainsight writes.

“When a user learns the ins-and-outs of a new software application, they should find it easy to figure out. If customers find it difficult to understand the most important product features, they may give up.”

Here is where training and software design work together. People might forget some of what they learned during a software training session, but when the software is intuitive those users won’t get frustrated at having forgotten how to perform some specific action.

eSUB: Built to be Simple

This is why we built eSUB Cloud to be as user-friendly and intuitive as possible. Field teams, project managers and business owners alike are able to open our software and understand the progress of a construction project.

We’ve made it easy for everyone on the team to capture construction project data, share that data with other team members, and view a shared dashboard right from their mobile devices.

Our clients and our users frequently cite eSUB’s ease of use as a big reason they continue to use our software. “Training on the eSUB system was easy compared to similar systems and streamlines our ability to bring on the new field and office staff,” says John Russo, president of Metro Erectors, Inc., in Brooklyn.

And if your team needs some dedicated training to get everyone on the same page with the software, we launched eSUB Academy in 2022 for that very reason.

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