Rules (Of course there are rules!)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we didn’t have to have rules?   If everyone knew how to comport themselves in a manner that is fitting for polite (or not polite) company?

Unfortunately there are those who need to be reminded so…………

Honest debate is great and comments are welcome even if the opinions differ from mine.

The following are prohibited and comments containing these will not be published:

  • Name calling (sorry, I don’t tolerate it with my kids, grandkids and not from you either)
  • *Four* letter language
  • Threats of any kind
  • Spamming
  • Advertising

 

Retail Acquisition – A story in frustration

Acquisitions happen in the business world, it’s a fairly regular occurrence. When it comes to retail we only tend to hear about the larger ones, Dollar Tree buying Family Dollar or when Rite-Aid bought Eckerd Drugs. We don’t hear about the small single company that is acquired by a larger company unless of course we happen to be a customer of that smaller company.

This is about how this can go spectacularly wrong from both a customer and customer service perspective.

Some companies by the nature of their business have life-long repeat customers who purchase from them on a regular schedule. They are often defined by their customer service rather than their pricing. This is the glue that keeps their customers from decamping to another supplier.

How does the new company keep from losing those loyal customers? It’s not enough to have more options or even slightly better pricing. It’s not enough to have rewards. It’s the initial impression, that first contact they have with you. Did you send out a letter or email to the customers welcoming them to the new company and letting them know what they could expect the next time they need to place an order? Did you let them know that they will be taken to a completely different website with a new name? Did you do anything at all to let them know?

When a customer clicks on their saved link or types the address in their browser and they are automatically redirected to a different website, several things happen. First is the initial confusion, did they type the address in wrong or click on the wrong link? So they try again only to get the same result. Then come the other questions, did the company change their name or something else?

From there depending on the customer, they might try to find their product and order it or they might call the customer service number. They might even try to login to the account that they had with the previous company only to have it not work.

Imagine you are the customer in this scenario. You click on your saved link and are taken to a totally different site with a different name. You can see that it has similar products, but nothing on the site gives you any indication that it has anything to do with the company you are looking for.

Maybe you figured out that the company might have been bought out so you try to login to your account but are met with failure. You try the reset password link and get a message that there is no account associated with your email address, but you do have the option to create a new account.

When you go to create a new account, you are presented a cryptic message that if you create the account, all of your previous purchase history will be available, but still nothing to indicate that the company has a new name, was purchased or anything at all to explain why you need a new account. So you create a new account and there is no purchase history.

At this point you call customer service. They explain that the company was purchased by a new company. They have no explanation to give as to why your purchase history didn’t transfer except to say that some transferred, some didn’t and they don’t know why.

They assist you in finding your product which you were unable to find because it’s not listed in it’s category by brand or by name and has to be found by the sku, which you don’t have. The customer service rep has access to your purchase history but you don’t.

While you are chatting with the customer service rep, you hear a story of hang ups and customers refusing to speak to them because they don’t recognize the company name. You are told about customers who refuse to listen when the rep explains that X company was purchased and this is the new company. You hear a story of extreme frustration on the part of the customer service rep. The apology and the comment about earning rewards if you stay is offered in a resigned tone as they know that it doesn’t make up for the frustration, the loss of purchase history and confusion, among other things.

All this does is to create doubt in the minds of your customers. They wonder how you will handle their business going forward and they wonder if they should find a more ‘reputable’ company.

People today are bombarded with calls regarding their student loans and extended vehicle warranties. They are the recipient of scams involving green.dot cards and utility bills or warrants for their arrests. They fall prey to untold number of scams that seem legitimate. They lose their ability to trust what they are told. When they contact you they want to hear that familiar name and when they don’t the red flags go up and often they will not continue the conversation.

Companies who do all of their business online have a particularly strong need to engender loyalty from their customers. They don’t have a brick and mortar presence to help cement that loyalty, so they need to up their game. Purchasing another company and not handling the customer facing part of the transition well is a surefire way to loose customers.

The Birth of a Conspiracy Theory

Have you ever wondered how conspiracy theories start, take hold and spread like wildfire?

By the time we see them they are usually fully entrenched and have entered the consciousness of hundreds of thousands of people who willfully believe them as fact no matter any evidence to the contrary.

In a recent thread on the Nextdoor platform I saw first hand how easy it is for a conspiracy theory to start. Take a bill from a government related agency such as a utility bill that is higher than normal, add in a public forum and mix together with other people.

That’s it, that’s all it takes. Initially many other folks jump on the bandwagon with their own stories of higher bills and stories of poor customer service. Then come the accusations of how the city is knowingly sticking it to the customers because they have no other choice. Along the way are those who try to calm things down with common sense, winter usage, being at home more etc., but eventually what you end up with is a group of people who have decided that the city is bad and that they need to get together in a group and head to the next city council meeting even though there are more than enough reasonable explanations for the increase that have nothing to do with the city being out to get anyone.

This is where it starts. Once the idea gets entrenched someone shares it out as fact in other forums and pretty soon it’s entered the consciousness as alternate ‘facts’ that far too many people will buy into.

Are you stressed and Anxious?

Are you stressed and Anxious?

There is so much about our current situation that is still unknown, even after almost a year, and that we still can’t do anything about. Throw in continuing unrest and a contentious Presidential election and the stress and anxiety can be off the charts.

Here are some things you can do to help ease that.

  • Limit how much time you spend on social media or news sites looking at stories about the virus, unrest or the election.  Turn off news popups if necessary.
  • Only get your virus information from reputable sources.  Your local government sites or the CDC.  Company provided information is also good.
  • Keep as normal a routine as possible.  If you normally go to work or other places, get up and get dressed like normal.  Don’t stay in your pj’s all day.  Tend to your personal grooming.  It may seem like it’s not worth it, but it will do a lot for your mental and emotional health.
  • Do routine things around your house.  Don’t slack off on the cleaning or maintaining the yard.  Keep to your normal schedule as much as possible.
  • Pull out that sewing, crafting, reading or other things you have been meaning to do but haven’t had time for.   Call friends and family that you don’t get to talk to often.  Do video chats with friends.
  • Learn how to cook or bake something new and challenging
  • Get out in the fresh air and sunshine even if it means just walking around your yard a few times each day.  Open the curtains, don’t leave your house shrouded in darkness.
  • Eat regular well-balanced meals.  Avoid things that could cause you to be more anxious, alcohol, caffeine etc., if you can.
  • Take a nap, warm bath, have a movie night.
  • Treat yourself to a takeout or delivery meal and help local restaurants in the process, if you can afford it.
  • If you are a member of a faith community, reach out, have a virtual sing-along, pray for each other, call those who normally are considered shut-ins, listen to the live stream from your church.
  • Use apps like Nextdoor and see how you can help others who may be in need.


Find virtual museum tours, opera concerts, popular singer concerts, etc.. All these things are available online and many are free. Expand your horizons. Take an online course of something you have always wanted to learn.

There are so many things that you can do even now while we are staying at home. We have the world available to us if we only take the time to look.

Fireworks – An Explosive Controversy

What does the thought of fireworks bring to mind? For many it’s holidays that include get-togethers with family and friends, picnics, parades, carnivals and local events that end with a fantastic overhead fireworks display. It’s sparklers and screamers (whistling or piccolo petes and bottle rockets), ground bloom flowers and colorful (many times noisy) fountains and maybe even some overhead ones. For some it’s ones that go boom, m-80s and firecrackers and others, the louder the better.

Humans have been enjoying fireworks for over 2000 years. They fascinate and dazzle and provide a bright spot of enjoyment during a special celebration. I love fireworks, especially the professional overhead displays and have a soft spot for sparklers, worms and ground bloom flowers. I love to see the delight on the face of a child watching the fountains and other displays and love the time spent with family and friends.

So why the controversy?

Personal fireworks have never been more easily obtained than now. At least 46 states plus the District of Columbia allow personal fireworks in some form. The manner in which they can be obtained and the time frame when they are allowed to be sold varies from state to state.

In my state gone are the fireworks stands that were there the week of July 4th or the tents that sprung up in local parking lots around the major holidays, you can now buy them (Fireworks classified as DOT 1.4g Consumer Fireworks) at your local Wal-Mart, grocery store or just about any store that chooses to sell them. You can also drive to neighboring states to get the fireworks that are illegal here.

Novelty fireworks (sparklers, worms, cones and such) have been legal here for more than 15 years but it’s only in the last 5 or so that other consumer grade fireworks have become legal to purchase for personal use here, including aerial ones. Prior to this, constant disruption due to the loud noises from many of the consumer grade fireworks wasn’t a concern, it’s only in the last few years that we are seeing and hearing them so often in our neighborhoods.

Now that restrictions have been significantly loosened regarding the purchase and use of fireworks, here especially, more and more people are setting them off on days other than recognized holidays, much of the time in violation of local noise ordinances. Where’s the harm in that you may ask? Many people feel that it’s a matter of personal freedom and that those who are near enough to be subject to hearing the loud booming that accompanies these should, as some say, ‘suck it up buttercup’ and just deal with it.

If only it were that simple. It’s easy to say that folks should have a glass of wine, buy a set of noise cancelling headphones, take a drive or do something out of the ordinary to minimize the noise so someone else can go about their activities, without recognizing that for each vocal neighbor who speaks out there are others who are suffering in silence.

By their very nature, fireworks are typically used in the later evening hours and many times go late into the night when people are sleeping. Being jolted awake by unexpected loud booming fireworks after you are asleep, many times at midnight or later and then being unable to go back to sleep is quite unpleasant. Having it happen multiple nights in a row is even worse.

The noise affects humans and animals alike. Lack of sleep, inability to enjoy activities in your home among other things over time ends up becoming a significant nuisance and contributor to a reduced ability to function normally in your home, can have a direct impact on alertness which affects driving, operating dangerous machinery among other things and can have a detrimental affect on physical and mental health. At the time of this writing my dog is terrified to go outside and spent most of the day yesterday hiding in the bathroom and it will take several days to get her to the point where she will go outside voluntarily and this is with the use of a thunder shirt and spray. We go through this every major holiday season (memorial day, Labor day, 4th of July, New Year’s) and random other days throughout the year as we have numerous people close enough who set off the loud fireworks for weeks surrounding each holiday and on other random days throughout the year.

When it comes to noise in neighborhoods, we get angry at construction, yard work and other types of noisy activities that interrupt our activities, chiefly sleep, when they take place during hours we consider to be ‘off-limits’ to that sort of noise, but switch the conversation to fireworks and all of a sudden you are in the middle of the ‘great divide’ with many people who would agree about the ‘off-limits’ hours for loud noise suddenly being the ones who are loudly vocal with suggestions for what people should do if they don’t like the noise.

There are other significant downsides to fireworks use becoming a common thing like the threat of fire and injury. According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) in 2018 fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires that include 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused 5 deaths, 46 civilian injuries and $105 Million in property damage.

Also in 2018, U.S. Emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks related injuries with children under the age of 15 accounting for more than 1/3 of those injuries.

With each increased use of fireworks the risk that a fire will happen in your neighborhood rises significantly. Any fire in a neighborhood has the potential to spread to the homes of others and to cause injury or property damage outside of the property where the fire started. We have a home in our neighborhood where there was a recent fire, that we believe to have been caused by fireworks they were setting off. The homeowner is very fortunate that the fire was contained to a shed and didn’t spread to their house.

So what does it mean to be a good neighbor when it comes to fireworks? Should our neighbors just have to put up and shut up so we can have our fun and enjoy shooting fireworks late into the night?

For starters if you want to have good neighbors, you have to be a good neighbor. Constantly depriving your neighbors of sleep, waking the babies, making it impossible for people in surrounding homes to watch a movie or TV show, have a conversation, enjoy an evening outside or perform work from home isn’t a very neighborly thing to do.

Expecting that your neighbors should have to drink alcohol, purchase an expensive pair of headphones, wear a pair of headphones for hours, take a sleeping pill, medicate in any sort of way, spend hours comforting a crying child or terrified pet or even leave their home for hours so you can shoot off fireworks on a random evening is an attitude that is beyond selfish. The fact that it may be legal doesn’t change that.

While not everyone likes fireworks, the privilege of using them on holidays is certainly an acceptable one and we need to accommodate our neighbors who will be using them. In turn we ask that our neighbors learn what the noise ordinances are where they live and abide by them. If you know that your neighbors have small children or pets, or work from home in the evening hours, notifying them in advance that you will be shooting off loud fireworks on a certain day would be beyond helpful and the neighborly thing to do.

Noise ordinances may be at the state, county or city level. In many states the state has an overall ordinance but counties and cities may have more restrictive ones. It is your responsibility as a citizen of the state, county and locality to learn what the ordinances are regarding noise before you engage in activities that go beyond a normal level of noise and then abide by them.

Who are you talking to?

In this new work from home world that we find ourselves in these days there is a sense of something missing.   Something more than the familiar, normal routine of going to the office. Something more than the casual break room, water cooler or hallway conversations as we run into people we weren’t looking for.    Something more than the quiet ability to concentrate in an environment designed for that purpose.

It’s nebulous and hard to define, that sense of something missing that we can’t quite put our finger on.

We are missing the spark that comes from overheard conversations, walk-up questions, shared frustrations when something needs to be improved or the visible reminder of someone we meant to talk to or something we meant to look into.

We are missing the organic ideas that arise out of those casual or overheard conversations, those walk-up questions and those visible reminders.

We find ourselves being distracted by a space that wasn’t designed for long term work from home, or children who are attending digital learning, or the chores we didn’t finish yesterday or a general sense of dissatisfaction with our situation as a whole.

Short of an immediate return to the office we must change our mindset.  We can no longer rely on the casual or unexpected to trigger the ideas and thoughts that lead to those ideas.    We have to start being intentional about our conversations.

When was the last time you reached out to a coworker just to chat or did a fun virtual activity for work?

It feels counter productive to schedule or intentionally create what used to be random and unexpected.

Take a virtual walk around the ‘office’ next time you get up to get a cup of coffee or a snack.  Who would you stop to chat with, who might you run into in the break room or hallway?    Reach out to that person, let them know you went on a ‘virtual walk’ and chat for just a few minutes.

Make moments of intentional randomness………..

Who are you talking to today?

 

 

Re-Opening America – Georgia Edition

DISCLAIMER:  I do not claim any expertise of my own.  All of this information is readily available from Governor Kemp’s order (Georgia), the CARES act and those who are experts in their field.  I have simply taken it and put it together to address many common questions and misunderstandings that I have been seeing.

While some of this directly addresses the situation here in Georgia, the rest is useful for everyone.

It seems that there is a lot of confusion over Governor Kemp’s allowing certain businesses to start opening or modify how they are currently doing business.

Yes, I read the actual order and the CARES act section that covers unemployment.

First and foremost there will be a resurgence of cases when we start reopening.  This will be true regardless if we start re-opening now or next week.  Waiting 2 more weeks or 4 won’t change that. This virus is not going to go away. It will most likely end up being a cyclical thing like the flu and we are going to have to figure out how to go about our business and deal with it just like we do with the flu.

Secondly, the affected businesses do NOT have to open right now, it is their choice to re-open and ONLY if they can meet the restrictions (Georgia) that have been placed on them. Government cannot force a private business to open, it is strictly their choice.

Thirdly, they do not have to provide masks to customers nor take their temperature. That is a guideline for employees.(Georgia)

Employees who cannot return to work for a number of reasons, childcare being one of them are still covered under the CARES act. They will not lose that protection. Not being able to work due to having to care for a child who would otherwise be in school is expressly stated in that bill.

Some of these businesses will only be ‘opening’ in that they will have employees coming in so they can process payroll, handle inventory among other administrative duties that they have not been able to do since the lock-down started, they won’t actually be serving customers. Many businesses have already said they aren’t going to re-open just yet even though they could. Many restaurants have decided to continue take-out, drive-thru and curbside pickup and won’t be re-opening their dining rooms at this time. The Governor’s orders just give them the option now to make the best decision they can make. (Georgia)

The last thing I would like to point out is that flattening the curve was never about eliminating the virus. No medical professional anywhere has stated that if we just stay home it will go away. It was about slowing down the spread to lessen the immediate impact on our healthcare systems. This means that people will still get sick and have to be treated but not all at once.  This has given hospitals and the medical community more time to treat those who are ill, replenish resources, get necessary PPE and more.  Of course as a result of beneficial hygiene and social distancing (which we should already be doing for flu season) less people will get sick.

While we can hope for a vaccine, the reality is that will not be any time soon. When they do get a vaccine, the most vulnerable populations will be first in line for it.  It will take time to ramp up production to levels that are needed and then it will take more time to get it out to everyone who wants it. So we COULD be looking at 2022 at the earliest for it to be available for the majority of the population. At this point starting to build ‘herd immunity’ is our best option.

The take-away is for YOU to assess the situation and do what is best for you and your family. If you are not ready to go out, then don’t. If you are, take precautions, but let’s be kind. There are many thousands that are suffering from not being able to work.

Here are the links to the Governor’s order and to the CARES act should you wish to read them for yourself. Note that the CARES act is very long, I believe the portion on unemployment starts on page 84.

https://gov.georgia.gov/document/2020-executive-order/04202001/download https://assets.bwbx.io/documents/users/iqjWHBFdfxIU/rSVHQuPeCB_g/v0

Getting old in America

It’s not an easy thing to get old regardless of where you live.  Your eyes don’t see as well, you are always having to ask people to repeat what they said.   You move slower and may not sleep well.  Your life seems to be a constant round of what doctor to see today.

From the outside, it might look like a great time to get old.  We have medical advances that let us live longer and do it while feeling better, but is that reality?

As I look around I see a community of seniors that are increasingly isolated.  They are isolated from family who have moved away for jobs or lifestyles or other reasons.   They are isolated as many churches are focusing on younger and younger people and have abandoned formats that are senior friendly (hearing loss can cause physical pain when the music or conversation is very loud) or even segregated their seniors away from the younger members.

They are isolated because they live in cities where there is no bus service or other service to help them get around to church, activities, doctor appointments or visiting friends if they are no longer able to drive.   Or the areas they live in are not safe for them to walk where they want to go, even if distance would allow it.

They are isolated because they are not proficient with the technology that could allow them more interaction when they can’t get out and don’t have someone willing to teach them without making them feel stupid.

Our seniors are increasingly made out to be the reason that everything in the country is ‘wrong’, they are disrespected on a daily basis and in more ways than one and sometimes, even, told that they just need to die and get out of the way for people who are more knowledgeable or even care about [insert cause here] more.  They are told that their opinions are wrong and that they just don’t have a clue.

They are beholden to younger family members who are always trying to give them unwanted/unneeded advice (tell them what to do) on what they should or shouldn’t be doing but who are not around to help because they are far too busy, it’s physically impossible or they just don’t want to be there.

Seniors, the people I consider seniors have known a way of life you  and I can’t even imagine.  They have eyes to see how many of today’s advances may not necessarily bring a better, more content way of life.  Here is a list of just some of the common things that they would have experienced, many of them being normal ways of life.  I have marked in blue those things that I personally experienced.

  • Single income families
  • At fault only divorce
  • WWII
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • The draft
  • The gas shortage of the 70’s
  • No phones (party lines)
  • No TV’s
  • A Man on the moon
  • Everything being closed on Sundays
  • No 24 hour anything
  • Measles
  • Polio
  • Tuberculosis (testing in school every year – TB Tine test)
  • No central heating or air
  • 9 pm being considered late for a store to be open
  • No public transportation at all
  • A single family car if you had a car
  • Pumping water at a well
  • Outhouses
  • Fruits and vegetables being seasonal because importing them from other countries was not common or available
  • Growing your own fruits and vegetables

Life changes at an ever increasing pace as we invent and discover new and easier ways of doing things.   Many times I long for the simplicity of older ways of life and seniors who are older than I am do as well.

People don’t stop having needs and desires just because they are old.   They deserve better.

It’s all about the little things

As business leaders we all know about the big things that can hurt our companies. The really big things, like faulty products, poor customer service, unrealistic pricing etc., but do we give enough attention to the little things?

It may come as a surprise to some but those little things can mean the difference between an organization choosing your product over someone else’s product. And what those little things are might come as an even greater surprise and might not be what you think.

If everything were ideal, your products and services would only be judged and used based on what they provide or don’t provide. It would be a simple matrix of pro’s and con’s and you could easily outdo the other companies with similar products just by having more pro’s than they do.

In reality it’s not that simple. Have you recently lost a customer to another vendor? If you did and you reached to your contact to out to find out why, chances are they aren’t going to tell you about any of the ‘little’ things that might have swayed their decision. They might say that the cost is too high or they are going in another direction or even that it wasn’t their choice. It’s doubtful that they are going to say they are tired of getting marketing phone calls when they are already a customer or that you can’t seem to figure out that they are on your mailing list twice and they are receiving duplicate emails every time you send something out.

They may not tell you that your renewal process for product support is onerous or that your account team is highly annoying because you feel that every question requires a 30 minute phone call with the account manager and their supervisors and you won’t answer otherwise. Or the weekly calls and emails asking for an update and asking where the order is, after they have told you the process that it has to go through and that they are not in control of that.

Or worse asking to put you in touch with their executives so you can pressure them into making a purchase. That person you are talking to is likely the one pushing to renew the product and if you annoy them enough they may choose to go with another company altogether. When your customer feels like they have to ignore your phone calls or pretend they didn’t see your emails, you might want to take a step back and ask yourself why.

When it’s more than good enough, then what?

I previously wrote about usability and being just good enough. Well, once you have gone beyond good enough, then what?

Another point on the usability scale has to do with consistency.  Your terminology might be great and is user friendly and understandable, but what if the app/tool is still not really usable? What can you do to step up your game?

Let’s take a look at consistency. What does consistency mean in in terms of usability? I could probably write 5 articles on consistency but lets just look at a few things that come up over and over when it comes to apps and tools that you create for use in your organization.

  • Consistency in naming
  • Consistency in terminology
  • Consistency in appearance

These are what I would consider the BIG 3, at least when I am using an app or tool.

Consistency in naming – this has to do with how you name things in your tools. It could be a list of countries and regions or holidays, or the way the fields are named in a form. Consider a list of countries and regions. If your list looks something like this, you might have a problem.

Deutschland – BY

Australia – QLD

Australia – New South Wales

Australia – Victoria

Australia: SA

Canada – Alberta

Canada – Quebec

Canada (BC)

Germany – Saarland

Germany (Saxony)

Let’s break this down. I see at least 3 things that are not consistent. Start with the country name. Germany and Deutschland both mean Germany in English. If your app/tool is in English, make it all in English. Next, some country/region pairs are separated by a dash, some by a colon and some are in parenthesis. Lastly some regions are spelled out and others are abbreviated. Your list will not sort properly nor will it be displayed in alphabetical order. This leads to confusion when people are expecting items to be logically grouped together and might cause them to miss important information.

Consistency in terminology – calling the same thing by different names in different places in your app/tool leads to confusion. It also causes users of the app/tool to wonder if you know what you are talking about. Make sure that you are using the same name for items all the way through your app/tool. If you refer to a cellphone number in one place as Cell Number, don’t call it Cell # or Cell no. in another place. If you refer to regions of a country by their abbreviated name, continue to use that abbreviation throughout the app/tool.

Consistency in appearance – This is probably one of the first clues that your app/tool might not be friendly to use. An app that has a mish-mash of fonts, colors and inconsistently applied borders, underlines and other visual elements, is very hard on the eyes and can make the app/tool tiresome to use. It also makes it harder to find what you are looking for and looks less than professional.

For appearances, keep the style elements down to a minimum. Don’t use more than 3 different fonts in an app/tool and rather than using different fonts, unless you need an element to really stand out, consider using bold, underline and italic effects as needed to emphasize text where necessary. Choose colors to go along with the thematic elements on a site or to create just enough contrast to make your app/tool easily readable. Use the same elements throughout the app to indicate functions such as cancel, delete, save etc.

Nothing makes an app/tool harder and more frustrating to use than unfamiliar terminology, codes and words that are not easily understandable and inconsistency of the various elements in the app/tool.

Originally published on LinkedIn.  Republished here for those who can’t access it there.

When good enough isn’t good enough

How often do you operate on the premise that good enough really is good enough?

When it comes to usability it’s not and let me tell you why.

Over the years I have frequently found myself in the position of needing to use a ‘tool’ that was incomprehensible to me. Where I felt like I needed a legend or an SME (Subject Matter Expert) on hand to decipher what I was reading. These are the times I questioned whether or not the person or group who created the tool I was using actually put any thought into ensuring that their tool was actually usable by the intended audience. Most of the time the answer I came up with was a resounding NO.

Every group in your organization has a language that is particular to what they do. Finance speaks Finance, HR speaks HR, I.T. speaks I.T. and so on. Much of that language is not and doesn’t need to be readily understood by people in different groups and that’s fine as long as we are communicating within our ‘group’.

It’s when we need to communicate outside our group that we face our biggest hurdles. It’s these times when good enough isn’t enough. If we don’t recognize that assuming our audience’s ability to decipher our acronyms, terms specific to our group or cryptic names/abbreviations or codes that we have given something is a sort of arrogance, we are already lost.

I have done it, I have been that arrogant person who said, it’s good enough and put out an unusable tool that ended up in the trash, where it belonged, because it wasn’t usable by the intended audience.

The importance of usability cannot be overstated. Usability means using friendly terms, names and phrases. It means using common language that the majority of people can understand. It means presenting things in a way that doesn’t leave your audience feeling like they need a translator to figure things out.

Yes we have to work within the confines of those things we have control over, but where we do have control, usability should be at the top of our list of considerations.

We should always be asking ourselves, is it just good enough? And if the answer is yes, we aren’t done.

 

Originally published on LinkedIn.  Repeated here for those who can’t access it there.

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