Psychological approach to Design
muditha batagoda

Many years ago I took on the challenge of coordinating the development of a national Purchasing department website for multiple company locations to use. I soon learned why such “Enterprise” level applications can cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy, and take years to produce.

“In over my head” was my sleepless nightmare for the next 18 months, as I attempted to manage a small team of IT, database and web development specialists, who were supporting me from around the globe; from Texas to Britain to Japan.

To my credit, I attained an amazing ability to visualize both systemic challenges and web page “user experience” issues, from having to resolve things as a “blind” phone conversation participant. (At 3:am PST…)

Adding to the sheer volume of issues totally new to me were differences in cultural habits and priorities, particularly problematic it turned out in some rather simple ways.

My British web developer had created an order completion module that gave no indication to the user that they’d completed the ordering process; after you clicked on “Submit”, the page just regenerated itself to the last thing you had seen.

It took more than a couple of days long-distance discussion for me to convincingly portray the “American” logic that some visual indication of “Done-ness” really was a universal requirement. The developer had apparently been turning out similar modules for use in Britain for quite some time, without ever having anyone there complain about their perception of being “done”.

“We just know. Why don’t you?”

“We just don’t. Please, can you?”

Sometimes even the most incredibly simple things need to be addressed and resolved, even after they become incredibly complicated. Like Linus in the Peanuts cartoon once said; “Even stupid questions need answers!”

Boy do I ever respect Web developers now!

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