Thomas saw the light!

Posted: January 26th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Archive, Design & UX, HR, Systematic Viewpoints | No Comments »

In my last post I made reference to Thomas’ reference to enterprise systems as akin to broccoli – not as much fun as ice cream, but way more nutritious. I want to comment a bit more about his post and the Redmonk Radio podcast he was on. Go read and listen, it’s good stuff.

Thomas, I enjoyed your posts and the podcast, even though it took me 3 days to get through it all! In the work you’re doing with the Design Services team you’ve experienced firsthand how empowering it is to take a user-centric perspective to solving business and application challenges. Folks new to the process usually come out revved up and excited. And you’ve discovered what fun we can have if we take that approach into as many situations as possible.

Thomas comments in the podcast how he imagines UI to be like fashion, and he’s on the right track. UI, like all graphic design, is subject to the tastes of time and place. I know many designers who have excellent usability sensibility but even with that in place it’s a single yet key component of the total experience. In the same way, it’s not about Web 2.o widgets or shiny logos. It’s about getting rid of some of the messy and annoying administrivia with elegant, unobtrusive interfaces that don’t call attention to themselves but blend into the process.

At our company we’re deep in the goal-setting process. As an aside – it’s interesting to be responsible for delivering the service as well as taking part in it. I have an exciting set of goals for this year. We’re to be change agents, sharing the secrets of user-centered design with our business relationship managers and the development teams’ business analysts. We’re to continue our work in enhancing the user experience past the user interface layer out to the training, learning and support materials, down into the service centers and voice response systems. We’re embedding our practice in the development lifecycle to ensure that it becomes part of the fabric. I didn’t expect it but this year it seems I’ll be a teacher.