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December 17, 2005


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Anonyms For Now

"Please accept my apology for my rather cynical - and legitimate - replies. It’s been a long day – among other things – and I need to let off some constructive steam. Marion, trust me, none of which is expressed below is purposely directed at you. I’ll elaborate more on that at a later date."

I think I have mentioned before that as we get ready to launch PortfolioMinder we are doing a lot of watching people use the product.

"Watching is always a good thing to do."

I would say this ability to learn from how people use our product is a core competency of the people in my group and I suspect it is a core competency of Intuit.

"A key observation is always good too."

It has been fascinating and a bit awe inspiring to watch how the designers and user experience experts work.

"I plead the fifth on this one..."

This really hit me in a research session on Friday. There is a part of the basic PortfolioMinder data architecture that is key to the product.

"I can already tell what’s coming next."

Over the past year no matter how the screens were laid out people just weren't getting it. It was fascinating and frustrating to watch how they would fill in the wrong information on the screen and then find that the data didn't make sense.

"These are user experience “experts”, right?"

[User: one that uses / Experience: practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity / Expert: having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience]

The designers have been trying different things to make it easy for people to get it right since the beginning of the product design.

"How is it that it has taken so much time for the designers and user experience experts to get the data entry and display right? This isn’t rocket science..."

On Friday we were watching a pilot tester use our latest build and he Got It!

"About time... now can we take off the training wheels?"

He put the right data in the right place.

"Houston we have liftoff!"

What was weird and cool at the same time was that it was easy. It was obvious and it seemed like no big deal.

"Again, I plead the fifth..."

He filled in the data and everything made sense.

"Houston we made contact!"

No one will ever comment on how well this screen works.

"I wouldn’t count on that..."

It just seems obvious.

"To you it does... what about to the advisor?"

But I am really impressed with how hard it was to make it easy.

"Impressed? Well, who am I to say that you weren’t."

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