Down with software complacency

Neither user experience nor customer satisfaction are byproducts of the digital experience. They are central to it.

down with software complacency
c/o Shelby/Flikr

There’s really no excuse. Not one good reason why any app used for any purpose should be ugly or foolishly complex.


Think about it: if you encounter a desktop, mobile or online app that doesn’t seem to express its usage to you when you first take a look at it, how long are you going to stick around to learn it?

If you do stick around you’ve either got to be paid a ton of dough or have some other big motivation to get to grips with what it can do.

But there’s no excuse for software complacency, even in the enterprise.

If you use foolishly complex or buggy applications at work then you will not enjoy your work as much as you should. Perhaps that’s a little more acceptable if you only need to drop into the software sometimes, but it’s utterly soul-destroying if working in an awful app is your full time job. Your job satisfaction hits rock bottom and you find another job as soon as you are able.


Everyone since Maslow penned his Hierarchy of Need knows satisfaction is everything. It’s common sense, even to employers. Employers, how much money and time do you spend recruiting and training your staff – do you really want them to walk because your IT team failed to deliver software experiences that kept your employees engaged?

Here’s how it works:


Apps that frustrate = bad user experiences = frustrated employees = less productivity = higher absenteeism and staff turnover.


Apps that make sense = satisfying user experiences = happier employees = more productivity = better job satisfaction and employee retention.

There’s little difference between enterprise and consumer users. They both feature something called “people”. People will endure some complexity (Hello, Word and Photoshop) but only from tools they really can’t live without. Even then, if people don’t see improvement over time their loyalty will shrink and they will use other software as soon as they can.

It’s all about user engagement.


Unlike most other human tools, technology changes its purpose depending the software you use. It’s one thing in the morning, another in the evening. Your Mac, iPhone, iPad or other device is a games console, a message from your lover, food for your mind, your utility help center, your bank account, child minder, wallet and working life too.

Among other things.

In order to remain engaged with your increasingly digital reality, you want the software you use to deliver on need without friction.

More than that, you want to feel special. This is your life, after all and no matter how driven you happen to be you are still going to want to enjoy the experience of doing what you do. You want your technology to make you feel like a film star. As you spend increasing lengths of time immersed in digital experiences it seems logical you will want your devices to deliver a positive set of feelings. Like driving a great car it’s not just about where you go, but the journey there.


There’s no excuse – at home or at work -- for people to have less than this. Neither user experience nor customer satisfaction are byproducts of the digital experience. They are central to it. There’s no excuse not to try to deliver engaging experiences that count.

Person-centered computing is critical. There’s no excuse for less. The evolving digital experience is becoming central to physical existence. It’s almost like Apple planned it that way.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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