1. Momentum

2. Unity

3. Twins

4. Minimalism

5. Clarity

6. Fidelity

7. Magnetism

1. Momentum

Design for forward momentum. Designing digital navigation is not that different from designing navigation for a road. You always want to be able to help people maintain their momentum and get to their destination as quickly as possible. The essence of momentum is to help people move forward, and this is the essential purpose of navigation — to help people move forward.

Yes, there may be some navigation to help people move backwards (do a U-turn) but that should be minimized. Always assume that the page…


(Chapter 17 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

Switch. Switch jobs. Switch brands. Create open, simple, switchable designs. This is a time of great unpredictability and rapid change. You must be flexible and adaptable, skeptical, yet optimistic. Think open. Think transparent.

The old model is slowly collapsing. The “establishment” — the organization, the elites, the experts — are coming under increasing scrutiny. Wealth is concentrating in ever greater quantities in the top 1%, as the middle class is getting poorer, and those on low income struggle more and more every day. …


(Chapter 16 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

From uploading software to helping customers download

The top tasks of Cisco customers are:

1. Downloading software

2. Configuration / set-up

3. Troubleshooting

Out of a final list of 67 tasks that customers voted on, these top three tasks got as much of the vote as the bottom 43. Since 2010, we have been running Task Performance Indicators, roughly every six months, to measure the performance of these tasks.

Cisco customer Top Tasks results

In 2010, when we started measuring software downloads, it could take a typical customer up to 15 steps and more than…


(Chapter 15 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

Task Performance Indicator

The Task Performance Indicator gives you a management metric that measures how easy and quick it is for your customers to perform their top tasks. It involves live remote observation of customers as they seek to complete their top tasks. It will give you defensible, trackable data, but often, the most important thing it will give you is video evidence of real customers trying to carry out real tasks. You need to do this because:

a) You get to “see” your customers and thus you have the…


(Chapter 14 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

Top tasks versus tiny tasks

When we got citizens of Liverpool to vote on what they wanted from Liverpool City Council, we found top tasks such as libraries, leisure facilities, roads, waste collection. When we analyzed the relationship between publishing activities for the council on its website and citizens’ top tasks, we found an inverse relationship. The more important the task was to the citizen, the less was being published on it, the less important it was to the citizen, the more that was being published on it.

Top tasks versus tiny tasks at Liverpool City Council

The tiny…


(Chapter 13 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

Digital is self-service

You must develop a deep understanding about how to design for self-service because the essence of digital is people in control of how they want to search, navigate, scan, read, and act. Humans used to deal with other humans in order to get things done. Now we increasingly deal with technology. Today, we want to do more and more for ourselves by ourselves, and we prefer signing up for services instead of buying products.

The shift to services — away from products — changes what customers expect…


(Chapter 12 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

Data, data everywhere

Physical things obey the laws of scarcity. Land, oil, steel, gold are all limited resources. Digital things obey the laws of abundance. Resources such as data storage, bandwidth, networking, and processing power are becoming faster, vaster and cheaper by the day. Consider how fast the digital world is expanding and speeding up:

  • Every day in 2012, 2.5 exabytes of data were created. From the dawn of civilization to 2003, about 5 exabytes of information were created.
  • The world’s capacity to store information has roughly doubled every 40 months since the 1980s.
  • Decoding the human genome originally took…


(Chapter 11 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

What makes us human

Let’s face it, humans are arrogant. We think we’re just much better looking than worms. (Have you ever asked a worm what they thought of humans?) Some years ago, scientists discovered that worms had about 20,000 unique genes, and then simply assumed that humans would therefore have millions. However, according to Douglas Main, writing for Popular Science in 2014, “the estimated number has been steadily shrinking. A new study suggests that the human genome could contain as few as 19,000 protein-coding genes, fewer than nematode worms.”

Human versus worm genes

What!? Even less genes than a nematode! No need to get overly depressed. What…


(Chapter 10 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

Evolution of the digital workspace

Since 1997, my colleagues and I have been analyzing digital workplaces / intranets with a view to making them simpler to navigate and search. We noticed a clear evolutionary path:

  • They began in classic silo fashion with an information architecture/navigation mapped directly to the organizational departmental or divisional structure. If you didn’t have a deep understanding of where everything fits within the organization chart, you couldn’t find your way around.
  • They began to include navigation labels for “Tools” or “Systems”, which were in fact “intranets within intranets”. …


(Chapter 9 from Transform: A Rebel’s Guide for Digital Transformation)

Employees are not the problem

The typical workplace of today sucks. Big time. We most definitely need a new model for work. What went wrong? Technology was supposed to make our lives easier. In our personal lives, it certainly has, but when it comes to work, many of us are working longer and longer hours with horribly designed technology, and getting paid less. Stress is everywhere.

There may be a whole range of reasons for this, but at the heart of everything is that management does not value its workers. A 2015 poll by Monster.com found that almost half of US workers said they “never”…

Gerry McGovern

Website top tasks management consulting for large organizations

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