Thursday, September 30, 2010

User-centred design

In a follow-up to my previous post on admin interfaces, I thought I’d post on something that happened the other day on the current project.

As part of the ecommerce site we’re building we have a dedicated service for managing email notifications (registration, order confirmation, lost password etc. – about 50 in total), and during development we’ve been using Google’s SMTP service to do the sending itself. A couple of days ago I wanted to find out whether an email had been sent (as it hadn’t been received), and the easiest way to do that was to log in to the associated Gmail account and look into the Sent Items folder.

Turns out, the best logging / admin tool for an email service is, well, an email service. You can search through the emails, filter them, track them, configure various options and more. It just works.

At the same time, whilst thinking through the process for website administrators to take down certain products, the solution is not to give them access to a special website from where they can use the the Take-Down function (for which they will need the appropriate training and documentation), it’s to put a Take-Down button on the website product page that is only visible to people who are administrators. No “process re-engineering” required.

This user-centred design concept may yet catch on…

(Of course, it can get a bit out of hand – qv the “customer journey re-engineering manager” comment in this article - – rather embarrassingly I think I know the people involved!)

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