Monday, April 25, 2016

Natural Workflows.

Trying to reinvent the wheel is the single dumbest mistake that so many software services make. It's the equivalent of forcing people to re-learn how to ride a bike when they get a new one. And yet, daily software services spring up on the Internet to plug-and-play in your business with this exact same expectation. We're solution rich in business today and yet incredibly time poor. Solutions should be just that, not the creation of new unwanted problems. It's this very idea that drives us in our #simplicityrevoltion pursuit as we head towards statushub v2.

Throughout our lifetime we collect an incredible amount of experiences. It is from these experiences we learn to gravitate towards things similar to those we like alot or that feel/seem familiar. It allows us to jump right into them like putting on a pair of slippers. We're creatures of comfort. Yes, you've always got that group who thrive on the self-challenge of something completely new - and they will always exist.

We loved statushub hard before we owned it. We used it in our businesses we came from. One nagging thing we always had with it was the fact some of it was so eclectic in its design and presentation to manage. It was so unfamiliar, even in its choice of terminology inside it. It was jarring. But, it always remained insanely easy to use, so it was utterly forgivable. But, by the same token, we always felt that as users of an offsite status page service, we were in a minority as so many people don't have such a service in their arsenal.

You don't want to spend time learning something new; you haven't got time. And that's on us to provide that experience - something that feels so familiar, how you use it, and work with it feels natural

Inside that minority, it's easy to be smug and suggest that you're one of the smart ones because you know how to use, implement and benefit from such a powerful tool. But, that's utter narcissism. Once we acquired statushub, we were able to start looking at it from a newcomer's standpoint; how in the heck do you get started with one of these? How do you make it benefit my business? How do you make something so unfamiliar feel familiar?

We've spent an insane amount of time over the last 10 months in our own devlabs being devastatingly critical with multiple models of what our vision of statushub should be in its function and presentation. It has been a whirlwind of emotion; frustrating, exciting, impatient, interesting, educating, liberating and insightful. We've run the full gamut. Everyone on the team has been burning the midnight oil to bring our revolution ideals to a service we love passionately.

One of the key fundamentals in the approach has been to never stray from the keystone of we need to make the unfamiliar of statushub feel incredibly familiar, natural in how you approach it as a total newbie to it, while at the same time not make power users feel like we're putting training wheels on them needlessly. It's an incredibly tight line to walk.

We're consistently reaching out for feedback from long-time users, users completely new to the service and it's always incredibly humbling, invaluable and eye opening. The things we learn from our users we always overlay onto our vision helps us review our choices, and check our logic from the unencumbered outside-in.

During the last six weeks we've been running limited modelling trials and feedback sessions with a number of our customers who have helped us fine tune our vision. Leigh, who runs our UI/UX side has been leading this and it's been eye-opening for someone for even someone of her experience, as it has been for my own.

It's so easy to fall into the trap of thinking because you're doing something cool that you can dismiss what's gone before as 'done to death', but the mistake with this is that there are those who successfully have put these experiences into the hands of millions, who've become accustomed to the user experience, that not learning from them is asinine, foolish and in my view, incredibly arrogant.

I'm a firm believer you don't focus on learning from mistakes, you instead focus on learning from successes and strengths to build upon them - it's a more valuable use of time and efforts. It's ego and poor leadership we encounter in the early stage of our lives that too often drives us to focus on our weaknesses, eschewing our strengths - which I find incredibly negative & destructive to development and progress.

And this is where the idea of having natural workflows comes into play for me. It is so easy to overload a workflow with complexity, but it's harder to sharpen that down to a more direct, approachable and purposeful workflow. Making things simple is anything but, but it's a challenge we revel in.

When you use statushub for your business, we want to make its usage and integration in your business as simple as possible. You don't want to spend time learning something new; you haven't got time. And that's on us to provide that experience - something that feels so familiar, how you use it, and work with it feels natural, and an extension of your own natural workflow in your business.