Designing it Right

By Bert Sandie posted 09-25-2010 18:06


Over the past 20 years, I have been fortunate to work in a number of different high-tech industries including two massive ones which are telecommunications and video games. While you might at first think these two industries are miles a part, if you look at them as companies who provide services and products to consumers then they have a lot in common.

Thinking about how to design, deploy and support products and services that need to be "consumer centric" in nature requires a special mindset. This mindset requires insight about how consumers use, think and feel about products and services, which leads me to the title of this talk  - "Designing it Right!"

Too often in our daily activities we encounter a poorly designed product or service that causes us frustration, wastes our time (i.e. efficiency killer), and seems to have been slapped together in hurry (i.e. lack of quality). So as providers of new collaboration and sharing products and services how do we fix this?

Thinking about the past human factors and usability work that I have been lucky enough to be involved here is my quick checklist to think about:

  • Aesthetics - color palette, layout, typography
  • Usability - ease of use, intuitive, pick-up and use, no user manual required, designed to be used by human
  • Functionality - provides major use cases, feature rich but not at the expense of usage, progressive, works for new and power users

A good example of a product that is undergoing major usability changes is "Google Search" which on the surface is easy to use but with now millions upon millions of results returned has been become difficult to find what you want. So what has Google done --- they started implementing what is called faceting which is an ability to qualify your search through filtering and sorting options via a menu as opposed to the query command line.  Try searching for an image in Google, it will now provide you a menu on the left hand-side of the screen to help narrow in on your search. The menu allows a user to quick select size, type and color all by a simple click of the mouse. For the average user this is a major usability and functionality improvement.

Have a look at Apple or Amazon as companies who get it, they have designed it right and have benefited greatly compared to their competitors.

My advice is to have a close look at the applications used internally at your company and what you provide to your consumers, are these designed right?

You then must decide on a plan to improve you current solution or select a better solution.

#social #usability #functionality #E20 #aesthetics