“It doesn’t bother me” is not a great UX strategy

Joseph Emmi
Jul 9, 2018 · 4 min read

If you want someone to use your app or the product you bought for them (because you think it’s great), then you should be concerned if they are not willing to use it, and it should bother you… a lot…

We all know about that organisation that brings in a tool meant to help everyone to do things better, easier, faster, ultimately achieving the company’s goals. Everyone is going to love it, be more efficient, yet, no one seems to like using it; it represents too much work, the learning curve is steep, usability almost inexistent and the overall experience is full of frustration and bumps on the road, one after the other.

However, no matter how much dislike users can express, how little usage the metrics might be showing, it is the tool that has been chosen to take care of a critical part of the business; more importantly, there is a group of people (counted by the fingers in both hands) that use it every day and seem to get great value out of it. They have found their way around it, bypassing the most common issues that other users complain about, not by fixing them, but by getting used to them. They love it; they also tend to be the ones responsible for the tool and its future and firmly believe that everyone should use it.

Additionally to this, when they happen to get feedback from others complaining about a functionality, one that 9 out 10 users consider frustrating, their answer would something like “it can be a bit of a pain yes, but it doesn’t bother me, we maybe can look into it… but it doesn’t bother me”

Although, the reality is that the majority of the regular users, those meant to be interacting with it on a regular basis, completely avoid it.

Maybe, just maybe, there’s something to be looked into?

Just willing for people to use a tool because you think is useful, is not a great strategy to start with, and taking under consideration nothing else than how promising or powerful a tool is supposed to show how little regards some areas of an organisation can have about their employees’ experiences, as well as the implications this carries.

Many of the problems start when not thinking about the people using these tools, and these can come with a high price, not usually quantified but that can have a significant impact on the overall performance of a company. Tedious tasks and frustration can normally lead to low morale and engagement; already an epidemic in the corporate world. By 2015, 67.2% of US workers were “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their jobs, according to a Gallup survey cited by author Jonathan MacDonald in his book “Powered by Change: How to design your business for perpetual success”.

If the tools provided to employees are more prone to promote frustration than productivity, what do you think can be end-result? Unmotivated people that not only feel that they are not heard, but that their company doesn’t t care about them.

Phrases like “They are not the ones having to deal with this every day” or “I cannot be bothered using that thing” are not unusual, yet, few are the organisations taking serious steps into the experiences of their employees, not realising that giving the right tools is not just a matter of comfort, but productivity, and by consequence efficiency and engagement.

Accepting and tolerating these type of problems towards the tools used by our teams, is not just bad business practice, is bad human practice. Not caring about, rarely leads to great outcomes.

However, it is also important to understand that when it comes to businesses, there is an inherent complexity which comes as a delicate balance act, finding the middle ground between what the business needs and what the users need.

Is not about excuses from one side or victimisation from the other, but about the realisation that, it is about communication, collaboration and mutual understanding and empathy.

It is about removing pain and friction as much as possible, while building trust along the way.

The next time you think that it doesn’t bother you, think again, think about them.

It is not just about the experience they have while using your tool.

It is about the experience they have while doing their jobs.

It is about the experience they have while working for your company.

It is about humans, because technology itself, doesn’t solve any problems.

This article is part of my #100DayProject #100DaysofWriting — Day 98 of 100

Joseph Emmi

Written by

Technology + Business + Design + Entrepreneurship

The Bridge

A crossroad between Technology, Business and Design

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