It just works...

My wife loves her iPhone. The thing she likes about it the most is that “It Just Works.” My wife should hire herself out to be a user interface and usability consultant. She is incredibly smart yet has a VERY short attention span.  If I am dicking around with some technology I will fiddle and fiddle and go have a beer and come back and fiddle and fiddle some more until I finally get it to work. I sort of expect that things are not going to work right and will have to be molested within an inch of their life. My wife sits down at a new piece of software and if she is not able to make it do her bidding in 5 minutes, she’s done. Does this mean she knows everything about it in 5 minutes? Of course not, but she is having what Kathy Sierra calls an “I rule” moment within 5 minutes or she is done.

This was her experience with iPhone. She was kicking ass in 5 minutes. Later as she uses her iPhone she keeps learning, but she never is up against a “usability wall” or having an experience where she thinks, “This thing is keeping me from kicking the ass I want to kick.”

We had a home PC fail and I thought I would see if I could switch Windows XP with Ubuntu without my wife caring. She was dubious, but she was a good sport and gave it a try. The second time she sat down at Ubuntu she wanted to ship a package using USPS.com. On their site she enters info and it returns a PDF shipping label embedded in a browser window.  She fills out the form, clicks the button, and … nothing. No request by Firefox to open a PDF, no error. No nothing. Just blank screen. Was this a fault of Ubuntu? Firefox on Linux? USPS.com? It doesn’t really matter because she was done. XP got loaded on that machine that very night. I might have been able to dick around and figure out how to make it work, but my wife was done.

This is the future of customer service. It’s a battle between increasingly complex systems and customers who want things to “just work.”

For more on how Kathy Sierra thinks be sure and catch her being interviewed by Tim O’Reilly over at IT Conversations.

PS:

So while I was writing this I googled “it just works” in quotes to see what comes up. One of the top hits was a technology site called www.itjustworks.com. Their mission statement is as follows:

To provide computer and technology solutions to our clients in a manner and at a price that will bring them back and have them recommend us to others.

And when I loaded their site it looks like this:

[caption id=“attachment_113” align=“alignnone” width=“300” caption=“It Just Works!”]It Just Works! [/caption]

Oops, I use NoScript in Firefix to block scripting. Here let me turn that off:

[caption id=“attachment_114” align=“alignnone” width=“300” caption=“It Just Works?”]It Just Works? [/caption]

Still looks like hell, plus it has loud annoying music that loads with the Flash Animation. It just works… indeed!

-JD

 
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