Finding The Sweet Spot : Comments
December 1, 2004
Hey Keith, thanks for the great article. I really like how you dovetailed business goals and user goals together:
Organizational goals as you’ve defined them are the REAL challenge here. Not only do the usability/design arguments happen because of them, but any arguments happen because of them. When interpersonal issues are sorted out (or ignored), there is barely a design team in the world who can’t come up with an awesome design, because the user goals and business goals are simply what’s left to address. At that point, the techniques you mentioned to align business and users goals are great ways to move forward.
Showing value, as you mentioned, is the other big challenge. Since the highest priority for most is profit, whatever can contribute to that is the only thing stakeholders care about. On that note, evaluative techniques, like usability testing, are never necessary to implement anything. By definition, creative techniques (design) are the only things necessary for implementing something. Measuring things and evaluation over time are relatively novel, unused ideas that seem foreign to some, especially those used to marketing campaigns and branding strategies, which tend to reinvent the wheel every time.
This reminds me of the discussion going on right now about Microsoft improving web standards support on their browsers. What MS wants to say is that it makes no economic sense for them to upgrade their support for standards, and that it would be a blow to their proprietary handles that some people code to (VBscript). What they’re forced into saying is that it’s simply too hard to do, or that it would break stuff. Once it makes economic sense for them (perhaps a growing Firefox market share will force the issue), they’ll change. (It’s the same with focusing on user goals) But they are like any company that has been around for more than a year or two: they don’t do things because they are the right things to do, they do things because they are the most profitable.