It’s my problem, not yours

I manage a site called AuditionForms.com which seeks to make better kids by alleviating music teachers of soul-sucking paper work and giving them time to actually teach their students. It’s a bit of a selfish endeavor because I love listening to great high school concerts. It’s my theory that better teachers make better musicians and better musicians make better concerts; a win for everyone!
The site’s most basic goal is to translate paper- and spreadsheet-intensive work that’s been done by hand over the last 50+ years into an electronic workflow. The overwhelming majority of teachers come to the site already knowing what they need to do because they’ve done it many times before, just not in this mode. The fresh-outs dive right in; they’re ‘net-natives and typically move through the site with ease. The veteran teachers fall along a spectrum starting at ‘net-native and ending at ‘net-phobic.
With each release, I watch in wonder as my customers discover holes that I hadn’t seen, play out scenarios that I couldn’t fathom, and create paths across, through and around my designs that are works of sheer ingenuity. And I know that every one of these variances result from a failure on my part and stand as a testament to my customer’s determination to make my product succeed!
As a web developer, a key part of my job is to make the site intuitive. The Japanese call this poka yoke meaning to make a thing so that it can’t be used wrong. Ideally, you shouldn’t need instructions to use the site correctly and the site should be designed to prevent you from doing anything wrong. Ideally, I’d also be 6’3″ and have a full head of hair. Height and hair aside, it’s my challenge is to close the gap between the ideal and reality. I do this by listening, watching (whenever possible) and paying attention to the output of my customers. I encourage my customers to be open and detailed in their criticism. I have had terrific spontaneous input through the use of chat for in-the-moment discussions.
So, if you’re scratching your head while using one of my products, please know, sincerely, that it’s my problem and not yours. Reach out and click that chat button or send me an email. Help me understand how I can make the product better for you and, in turn, make a better product for everyone.

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