Designing for the User NEEDS the User

I had lunch this week with Jacob Levine of ChorusConnection.com (@chorusconnect), talking about similarities of our respective customers, which led to a discussion of design. We’ve both built working sites. These aren’t portfolios or product displays that lend themselves to grand artistic license but subscription sites which our customers use to get things done. We’ve taken up the challenge of designing sites that our users don’t really want to be on, doing things they really don’t want to do, and would love to just avoid altogether. It’s like designing a house that lovingly provides heat, comfort, and protection to a family that just wants to travel and be somewhere else!

And that’s really the point: We know that you don’t want to be sitting in front of a terminal wrangling spreadsheets, google docs and other fragile digital buckets.  That’s why you use our sites and urge others to do so.  You want to be standing in front of your podium with a spray of musicians making music!

It’s our missions to help you do just that and in doing so, we make design decisions: What goes where? Is it a text box or check box or radio button?  How much information is necessary?  How many clicks are required?  How few clicks are possible?  Ultimately, how can we help you spend as little time as possible on the thing we spend days, weeks, or more obsessing over?

We make educated, experienced guesses, but don’t really know what works until you open the page.  Most of the time, we guess right, or right enough.  When we don’t though, I implore you to help us.  Use our chat links, email addresses, and phone numbers.  Tell us what confuses you, what’s missing, what’s irrelevant.  What’s that one thing that would save you a ton of time?

If you’re scratching your head over something I’ve created, tickle the keyboard instead.  Let me know and I’ll fix it!

One Reply to “Designing for the User NEEDS the User”

  1. Rick, the title of your post really hit the nail on the head. The only way to effectively design great software is to bring the people you’re trying to serve into the design process. Good luck with everything, and looking forward to working with you more in the future!

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