Month: June 2021
Long before I began consulting, I was developing new applications for a Marketing company. Nearly everything was built from the ground up at the time and there was very little reuse. That changed over time as I developed reusable functions and eventually created a “standard system” that led to a significant reduction in development time due to reuse. Throughout this multi-year period I had an unplanned but valuable assistant – “Wendy Sue.”
My user interfaces were generally liked due to layout, workflow, help screens, etc. But, a new hire in the Customer Service team was consistently running into problems. I was young and one of my first interactions with her probably went something like this, “Why would you do it that way? That doesn’t even make sense? Have you ever worked with computers before?”
She began crying. I felt like a jerk as my frustration began to wane. Days later, I realized that Wendy Sue was really a gift and not a problem. She had an incredible knack for finding obscure flaws and breaking things. I embraced this, bought her lunch, and asked her if she would be willing to help make my software better. She was excited to be able to help, and eventually we laughed about our initial encounters.
Wendy Sue and I had become allies in a quest to create custom software that provided a better, problem free user experience. Nothing was taken for granted. Everything became more robust. And surprisingly to me, these changes were appreciated by everyone, not just Wendy Sue. She helped me become a better programmer and analyst, and I provided her with an experience that led to her becoming one of the first Quality Assurance Analysts in the company. It was a win-win.
There is often a considerable difference in the expectations and ways that Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X, and Baby Boomer users’ interface with applications. Creating a one size fits all application is far more challenging today because of this simple fact. But, it is essential to success.
People today tend to move on to something else when their experiences fail to match their expectations. Investing in “Wendy Sue proofing” your systems can become a competitive advantage. I have long held the belief that, “People buy easy.”
If one person encounters a problem then others will likely follow unless a remedy is implemented. It is more work, but the result can be increased satisfaction that results in increased usage and loyalty. That seems like a good tradeoff to me.
What are your thoughts?
This is an extremely powerful Teaching and Learning Experience Platform (LXP) that I have been using for close to a year now. It is amazing how a better approach to learning leads to better retention and understanding.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Life is filled with unexpected events. In most cases, we make tiny adjustments and carry on. We trip. We stumble. We pick ourselves up and pay closer attention to where our feet are taking us.
Others force us to rethink what we previously took for granted. These are the big events that come out of the blue, grab us by the collar, and give us a good shaking. The death of a loved one. The sudden loss of a job.
And then there are the colossal events that not only change us individually, but the world we live in. In my lifetime, I’ve seen my fair share of these earth-shakers. The assassination of John F. Kennedy. The legalization of gay marriage. The fall of the Berlin Wall. The election of the first…
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