User Expectations

This fastcompany article is an interesting writeup of the expectations of users today.

This is a review of a product (a wristband and smartphone app that track your wellness) that has spots of brilliance interrupted by transitions of annoyance. Follow his progression:

· The wristband itself is superbly designed

o track how much you’re walking, exercising, or sleeping; upload data to the app,

· The software is too buggy and confusing, the user experience too unresolved.

· The wristband, which has a speaker jack clearly hidden on one end, has to be plugged into your phone every time you want to refresh your data. (Why no Bluetooth?)

· Imagine if the wristband was constantly communicating data to your phone.

· introduces just enough friction into the process that it never quite integrates seamlessly into your routines

· Simply having to take the wristband off, uncap the end piece, plug it into your phone, load up the UP app, and then have it synch means that it becomes another chore

· we are approaching a point where if something matters to your life, it’s on your smartphone

· (On a smartphone) The apps themselves are stripped down to their functional essence, so even though they’re always present, it doesn’t feel like any of them are claiming more attention than we want to give.

· there’s too many paths for ultimately doing the same thing. You can go around in circles on the thing, and that quickly becomes exhausting

· it leaves you this constant nagging worry that no UI should ever create: Am I doing this the right way? You feel lost, in a very high-tech manner.

Making or Saving Money

Just finished talking about “innovation” and what enterprise software companies mean by it. While the thoughts are still in my head I will write them down. It is not that this is rocket science but it seems to be missed in the discussions of doing design in a company. Is what you are working on go to make money or save the company money? To that end it is important that you know whether you are building your software for the “line of business” or for the delivery to the customer.

On the topic of innovation, how much are people willing to “innovate” on the line of business? How much are they willing to pay for something that they consider a cost center not a profit center. Should the definition of “best” be in the context of efficiencies: design, development, implementation and usage? If it is not incrementally better how do you describe the cost savings to the organization?

When delivering to the customer the solution might not be the most efficient. This may depend on the goals. When someone says they want something innovative here what are they asking for? Increasing profits? Here we may not want incrementally better. We may need something that is a step wise improvement or in some organizations a completely different approach. In any case beware of what you are designing for.

3 Barriers to Innovation

Many companies are lost when it comes to the buzzword “innovation.” This article hits on some problems I have encountered in other companies. People grasp for something to get their “innovation” then feel like it just doesn’t work. These ideas may work but what people need to do is learn the process by doing it with someone who knows what they are doing and then be willing to adapt. Just reading about it and picking the things that the company is comfortable with is a recipe for a muddled mess.

“Luke Williams, a fellow at Frog, argues that coming up with breakthrough innovation isn’t just a matter of being brilliant. Rather, he lays out a systematic method for overcoming the usual barriers that hem in great ideas.”