No matter how user-centered a metric is, it is unlikely to be useful in practice unless it explicitly relates to a goal, and can be used to track progress towards that goal. We developed a simple process that steps teams through articulating the goals of a product or feature, then identifying signals that indicate success, and finally building specific metrics to track on a dashboard.
A domain name doesn’t win you a market; launching second or fifth or tenth doesn’t lose you a market. You can’t blame your competitors or your board or the lack of or excess of investment. Focus on what really matters: making users happy with your product as quickly as you can, and helping them as much as you can after that. If you do those better than anyone else out there you’ll win.
I noticed a small issue with eBay’s picture uploader. Can you see it? Icons are controls. Controls should do what they indicate in the manner that they indicate. So if your control indicates that it will rotate a picture counter-clockwise, it should do that.
This is a tiny issue, sure, but it confused me for a few seconds when I was listing my previous phone. And these little confusions add up to a customer experience that’s not as great as it could be. If you want to put out a great product, you need to get fanatical about the little things.
When purchasing decisions involve heterodox interests, sales difficulties increase exponentially. A perfect example is enterprise Gmail. Gmail is undeniably a better-designed email product than most companies use, but Google butted up against unanticipated resistance when selling Gmail to enterprises. It turns out that enterprise purchasing decisions are far more complex than a single users.
The IT guy at my work and I talk often about what it would take to move our firm from Lotus to Gmail (consensus: an act of god). He pointed me to this article from CIO: Why Enterprises Are Moving to Google Apps, Gmail. Here’s what I found most interesting:
Perhaps most significantly, at a Google Apps CIO roundtable event in San Francisco this week, Google announced that enterprise users of Google Apps could access Gmail through an Outlook client. The company hopes it will quell the protests by users who have become tethered to the desktop app and who, as a result, have sometimes hindered enterprise adoption of Google Apps.
“For me, it eliminates the last hurdle or mindset for letting go of [Microsoft] Exchange or the Exchange mentality,” said Bob Rudy, vice president and CIO of Avago, a semiconductor company that moved its employees over to Google Apps, during the event. “This will help with adoption.”
It turns out that people don’t necessarily want better email (at least not in the sense that Google initially thought). Sometimes they just want a better version of their current user experience. Sometimes they even want something you never even imagined could be important. From the consistently excellent IgnoretheCode (aka, Lukas Mathis):
If your users reject an improved user interface, you need to start out by figuring out exactly what motivates them to prefer the more complex solution.
Of course, there’s more at issue here than UI, but the general point remains. When people reject an objectively better solution (at least in your eyes), you better find out why.
There are no absolutes on the web. The reality is that like a lot of science - like chemistry or physics - in the beginning we use very simple models and as our knowledge and understanding of the field grows, these models become out of date. As our understanding of the many various edge cases increase we develop newer, more complex models.
I’m not ordering a first-gen iPad, but that’s not really a relevant data point (my dad and my fiancee have both already placed their orders, so it’s not like I won’t be using it). That said, I’ve been noodling on what the possible use cases are for the device:
So really we’ve got three use cases and a purchasing motivation. Focusing on the use cases, two themes emerge:
As to point 1, I imagine the need to let the iPad “live” in a common area (rather than in a charging dock next to a wall) is why SJ was so adamant about the 10 hour battery life and the ability to hold a charge. People are fundamentally lazy—if the iPad isn’t sitting in front of them at all times, they’re not going to use it enough to develop a bond.
Regarding point 2, I don’t see anyone buying the iPad as their main (or only) networked digital device. That’s not to say the thing won’t be a roaring success—at the moment, the pre-order figures are outstanding—that’s just to say that the device, even if it lives up to the hype, probably won’t change the world so much as it will change the computing usage of many affluent people.
And all that is fine. The iPad doesn’t have to change the world to be successful. So long as the software reflects its hardware, I’ll be satisfied. You rarely see Apple try to cram a usage into the wrong hardware. The iPad is neither a mouse-and-keyboard-driven laptop nor a pocketable phone/connectivity device, and I expect the OS to reflect that.
You’ve probably heard the news. No, you’ve definitely heard the news, because it’s Monday and you’ve been reading tech...