We’re only 2 weeks away from Ottawa’s 2nd UXCamp, and here at Macadamian we’re getting pretty excited for the big day.
We’re sponsoring again, we’ve got a few people on the organizing committee, and we can’t wait to celebrate all things UX for a day - user experience, design, usability, information architecture, user interfaces, service design… anything and everything about creating better products and better experiences.
If you haven’t registered yet, and you’re still on the fence about it, here’s a whole list of reasons why you should try to snag one of the remaining tickets. (Hurry! We sold out last year, and it’s looking like we will this year too!)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A business team provides product specifications to its development team. The development team looks at the specs and finds that they are, in reality, no more than a high-level marketing requirements document (MRD) with a few pictures. The development team returns to the business team with a long list of questions: “What is this?” “What exactly am I supposed to build?” The business team provides answers, but these only generate additional development questions. Meetings are scheduled, questions fly back and forth, and the process drags on…
While this is a very common scenario in software product development, it is obviously not ideal. Not only is important development time wasted, the most important voice – that of the user – is often missing from the conversation. This can lead to the development of a product that fails to address what users actually need, is difficult to use, and requires additional development patching immediately after the product is released.
Companies with successful software products often know when their user interface could be improved, but are concerned that any sort of major change might upset their user base.
Facebook, for example, caused quite a stir last month when it made dramatic changes to its interface that spawned an initial backlash from users. But for every Facebook example of design gone wrong, there is a success story of a company blasting ahead of its competitors by reinventing its product design. SalesForce.com’s dominance in the CRM market, for example, is largely attributed to its innovative design updates.
Recently, I had the honor of speaking at the Zappos Culture Bootcamp with my friend and colleague, Francois (@fboisvert), our VP Services Delivery at Macadamian. Francois leads the initiative to evolve our culture along with our vision, which has evolved dramatically in the last five years. It was a wonderful experience to share our Macadamian culture story at Zappos HQ - the mecca and role model of corporate culture.
Five years ago, we were an engineering focused consulting firm, helping technology customers build software products. We were known for our engineering prowess and our ability to work on new, unknown platforms. Today, we are a multidisciplinary product group that includes user researchers, strategists, user experience designers, software engineers, and QA specialists, who help customers define, design, and develop new products. We realized that as we grew, and as our team became more diverse, we would need to be more deliberate about defining our culture - that the culture we had as a technology focused company wouldn't necessarily serve us as a multidisciplinary design company.
I saw Moneyball the movie (based the book) this past weekend. It's a great film about baseball and yet at the same time not at all about baseball. The story is about a GM who has to rebuild a baseball club because he lost three of his best players to higher paying teams. His budget is a huge constraint. He has roughly one third of the payroll that the Yankees have. Yet he ends up successfully delivering more wins than his previous season, at a fraction of the investment other teams are making, and beats an all-time record for the most consecutive wins.
How did he do that?