This week I have learned:

  • that forms can be seen through a lens of “what has gone wrong in the past?” So often when we are confronted with requests for information whether through paper or increasingly digital means, it can be hard to understand why particular data are being requested. Ask the question “What bad thing happened that means this data is required?” might be a way of unpacking them.
  • we too often lose sight of the social life of information and information systems. Our design methods are focused too often on the needs of the individual without understanding that information lives in a social context. An example: Sainsbury’s online grocery shopping takes no account of a family working together to do the week’s shopping. So we have to share a login. It now has multi-factor auth, making it even less helpful in a shared-use context.
  • that there might be a gap in the market for understanding the difference between developing an internal line of business application and a customer-facing web service? Mainly it’s down to differences in power – if you are systemizing an internal process through systems you need to get people to use it and you probably have power over them. If you try to get customers to operate differently and they don’t like it, they’ll go elsewhere. (Employee experience wonks will probably suggest employees will ultimately vote with their feet too).
  • the Strategyzer approach to business books is really compelling. Nice design + white space + usable tools are a great combination.
  • that working out how I can provide assistance to some of my old clients in my new role is going to be interesting. Will what I used once to get paid for become a mere value-add (ie free) service?

Next week: Manchester

The week in photos:

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