Sad tale of leave application system

In a small company, it’s easy to manage 5 employees, their leaves, benefits and training programmes. In a larger organization however, it is becomes impossible to maintain a good overview of how employees are doing as a whole. Larger organizations manages training programmes for different disciplines and recruiting processes. So they implement this information system to support their employees. Employees hated this systems, not the fault of human resources, but largely because these systems are often cumbersome and inpersonal.

The leave application system user interface

In a Singapore company I worked for, the old system to apply for leave involves printing out leave forms, writing the amount of days you want to apply and getting them signed. We moved to a new system using a bespoke web application that basically looks like that:

There are many things wrong with this user interface (UI):

  1. You are allowed to choose a from date that is after the to date. You get an angry error only after submission.
  2. You are allowed to apply a leave for, say, Monday to Tuesday, with Monday Morning and Tuesday Afternoon selected. That counts as 1 day of leave and meant you have to work on Monday afternoon and Tuesday Morning. This is just too complicated.
  3. There are many Leave Types but really 99% of the time, just quoting numbers from thin air, people only use Annual and Medical leaves.
  4. Stand In is bolded for no apparent reasons. Users think it is a required field. It isn’t.
  5. The required fields is not just Leave Type as suggested by the asterisk. From and To dates are required too.

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