Revolution, evolution and keeping users happy

How many times have you heard the phrase “Evolution, not revolution“? It tends to be used to urge a slower, more measured approach to managing change rather than the “Big bang”, or revolutionary approach.

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“Nobody ever listens”

I went out to dinner last week with 3 colleagues – just a few drinks and something to eat whilst we chatted. The staff took good care of us and we had a thoroughly good evening. As we were presented with the bill, we asked if we could add ten percent, split it four ways and pay with cards, but we were met with an “oops – sorry, we can’t do that“. This was the first problem we had encountered all evening. The waitress explained that the tills weren’t able to take payment for anything different from what was on the bill. Any tips would have to be paid in cash. She said it was a common problem and that she had told her boss about it, but “nobody ever listens“. We tried every way of “tricking” the system into allowing us to overpay but we failed and as none of us had any cash with us, we left without tipping the staff.

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What makes this story all the more worrying, is that I had visited the same place four years ago with the same friends, and had experienced the exact same scenario. Continue reading

“It just works”

For many years Apple fans have pointed out to detractors that the reason they love their latest Apple product is simple – “It just works”. This is a phrase which Steve Jobs repeatedly used at product announcements¬†and it has become a generic catch-phrase to describe anything which works in a manner which doesn’t require the user to know how it works.

Steve Jobs recognised that most of us aren’t interested in what’s under the bonnet – we’re more interested in what it does for us, rather than how those clever Cupertino people managed to make it work like magic.

It’s an easy message to spread virally, and it’s positive – people like that.ItJustWorks_2

But it’s just not good enough. You can’t say “It just works” and expect to leave it at that. Continue reading

Switching off & on again – it’s here to stay

“Have you tried switching off and on again?” is usually the first question you are asked when you explain that something isn’t working. And of course it usually works.

On sensing my frustration at a spreadsheet which somehow “wasn’t working”, my six year old son suggested that I switch the computer off & on again. It was then that I realised just how ingrained and natural this behaviour has become.power_button

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