You know what your telling me when you say that your product needs the Wow factor?

Your product is long in the tooth and you have no idea what your customer wants. So it always seems like a good idea to sprinkle a little UX dust on the product and wallah! Wow!

It is true that ensuring that the visuals of the product are current and modern will remove a barrier in the sales process. It is also true that a clean modern looking UI will go a long way for hiding basic usability issues. People will believe that the modern UI is better than others that look less modern.

That said, wow that is pretty, is not the sensation your users want to have configuring all the pages in the application. Nor are they looking for pretty while maintaining and troubleshooting their application.

Think about it. If you are the admin for an enterprise application is pretty the wow you are looking for? Or does this person want an application that makes his job easy and makes him look good.

Observe your users. Notice all the people and things they have to interact with. Make that simple and convenient.

What kind of time pressure are they under and how do their tools help or hinder them? What happens when they are late? What can you do to alleviate these pressures?

Observing your users will tell you more about their needs then any Wow facelift can ever solve.

Goodness and kindness at work

Care, friendliness, goodwill, mercy, goodness and kindness are all attributes of ourselves. This week we need to take the opportunity to explore this at work. Recognize the people we work with and provide chesed (loving kindness).

Here are some questions that the Meaningful Life Center asks (with changes to fit the work environment):

  • What is my capacity to provide care and kindness another person?
  • Do I have problems with giving?
  • Am I stingy or selfish?
  • Am I afraid of my vulnerability, of opening up and getting hurt?

Counting the Omer – the Meaningful Life Center

Looking for talent

The best leaders hire talent not experience.

When hiring make the distinction between traits and states.

  • Traits are fixed and are what define a person
  • States are changeable

Detail oriented and introvert are traits where as knowledge and skills are states. People can improve their knowledge and skills but not their traits.

Talent is a pattern of specific traits that a person has. So focusing on the person’s traits and identifying the talents your team needs is key to hiring. You want the best talent for your team.

Listen to this interview:

Episode #305: Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall – A Leader’s Guide To The Real World (Break All The Rules)

Working in your headspace

Has anyone used the Headspace app. I read this article in Forbes: 3 Ways The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Uses Mindfulness To Be At The Top Of Their Game.

My daughter and I love watching the US women’s soccer team. These powerful women are great role models. This article talks about how just the physical side is not enough for performing well at sports. The mind is just as important.

“From improving resiliency and mental grit, to harnessing the ability to focus and let go …”

So even though the whole article was an advertisement it is still intriguing.

Context is everything

How can you design a product for your customer if you do not know your customer, the business domain, and the technology you are building with? People do it all the time.

How many technologists have the coolest latest thing that they are searching for a market and a user?

How about the designer who had the most awesome solution that cannot be built within years or millions of dollars?

Or the product manager who knows better than his users what they need and will get development to build what he wants?

We all work with or know people who work with these situations. A solution needs to meet the users needs and desires, fit the market and be sellable, and be produceable with the technology and expertise at hand. Creating a solution with all three aspects provides the best start to delivering a profitable solution that people want.

Migraines … what I do

Migraines can render me useless in a dark room with ice on my eyes.

At first the lightening bolts appear in my eyes. Sections of my sight disappear which makes looking at my computer impossible. Then arrives the headaches and nausea.

To reduce the effects and duration I do the following:

  • 1000mg ibuprofen
  • 1000mg acetaminophen
  • Pinch the stress out of the shoulders on both sides
  • Ice packs under the eyes
  • Get in a relaxing position with my eyes closed

This reduces the 4-6 hour episode to 30 min-1 hr.

Now the worst part is the anticipation that the migraine is not going to be short and will take up a third of the day. I would like never to get them again but I really do appreciate the idea that I can reduce the effects.

Employee engagement across distributed teams

We have teams of people across several clients and location. Each team is embedded at the client site and fully focused on project work. Typically each person is engaged at the client level but may or may not feel connected to our company.

There are several articles for telecommuting workers and only a handful around distributed teams and engagement that I have found. The articles talk about:

  • Virtual gatherings on a regular basis
  • Open ended questions allowing employees to discuss around work
  • Social communication channels for “water cooler” talk
  • Connecting with the company mission and goals
  • Ensure that employees feel that they are appreciated
  • Reciprocate the time and effort people put in for the company with demonstrated results, actions, and changes as issues are discussed
  • Provide a place to share stories and learnings between teams

Incessant evil of the electronic tether

As the UX designer sits around thinking of the gamification or ways to keep you engaged with your phone apps, did he care or have any concerns for the consequences? It’s insidious and nearly impossible to get away from. I turn off most of my notifications and am still harassed every few minutes by my phone.

What is wrong with adding these features? Nothing except this is scientifically driven psychological manipulation. So what is the problem? People are free to make their own decisions. The apps are just trying to make things more convenient.

Designers need to consider the ethical impact of manipulating human behavior for little benefit for the individual. The impact is being documented and reported almost every day so you cannot hide. You need to ask yourself, where do you draw the line.

Do you work for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or any number of other consumer product and service companies that are hoovering up individual information and feeding it back to hook people on more things? Is this really improving the user experience?

Once you log in, you have no freedom of speech. Social media is private, not government.

It is a strange balancing act that social media companies have played. They want to grow as fast as possible and get as much money as possible. They have hid behind protecting free speech on their platforms. The only free speech they are protecting is their own.

Social media companies can kick anyone off for any reason. So the fact that they allow trolls and racist lepers infest their platforms is by design or blatant disregard.

“websites have no legal requirement to protect your speech, and they can ban you for any reason and mostly without consequence” – Comparitech

So design a way for people to police their communities and to live the way they want. Let me exclude people who choose to use hate speech. Why do people who post online need to see the trolls and racist lepers? We should be able to form our own communities. Companies need to stop pretending that this openness they pretend to protect is for the betterment of society rather than for their numbers and bottom line.

Over 77% Of CEOs Are Looking For …

  1. Creativity
  2. Innovation

This Forbes article is lazy. They had a good headline then quit.

Great. CEOs want creativity and innovation. Deming and Ford are an interesting historical footnote.

What are CEOs really looking for? The writer explains that innovation is what they want. “New ways of looking at people and processes are the best ways to improve them.” This by definition is what any company is doing to succeed.

What I am looking for is what do executives mean by creativity and innovation. Our experience with executives looking for innovation is that they are not prepared for an innovative revolution. They are looking for evolution, a stepwise improvement. They need to make small bets that test many ideas with minimal impact to the existing money streams.