Re: Best idea of the week, make that year. Yeah, yeah, I know the year just started

Subject: Re: Best idea of the week, make that year. Yeah, yeah, I know the year just started
From: "Stitzel, Ken" <kstitzel -at- itc -dot- nrcs -dot- usda -dot- gov>
To: " (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 09:55:36 -0700

I have enjoyed reading this topic because often a tech-whirler is the
customer's last bastion of defense against bad interaction design.
(Obligatory high recommendation to Alan Cooper's "The Inmates Are Running
the Asylum".)

Often we can't do much, but we have to fight the good fight whenever we can.
I always appreciate an encouraging sign that people are aware of these
issues because most of us are in a weak position that is frequently swept
away and trampled by the barbarian hordes. (A body gets depressed after
getting trampled so much....)

The entire customer experience can and should be engineered, and there are
many reliable techniques for doing so, including usability testing,
interaction design, or something like the Taguchi method that Japanese car
manufacturers have used with great success. Clearly good writing helps in
this process.

Yes, in the somewhat dodgy real world of radio station EXP, it's difficult
to get people to pay attention. Most of us can only roll our eyes at our
employers as they blithely ignore these issues. Employers that DO pay
attention to these issues end up with an edge.

Small-fry businesses do the best they can. My favorite example came from a
friend who web-ordered a CD from the indy Canadian band, Cowboy Junkies.
When the charge showed up on his credit card, it was billed (IIRC) through a
used car lot somewhere in Manitoba! Guess they just had a friend up there
with a credit card machine....

Ken Stitzel
Rent-a-fed tech writer
kstitzel -at- itc -dot- nrcs -dot- usda -dot- gov

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