Smiling city

This week I was talking to one of the Principals at ZS, helping him to prepare for a client engagement.  His consulting team is putting together a proposal regarding the use of iPads for sales enablement.  They are preparing to do ride-alongs with local pharmaceutical reps, and they wanted my help to help them prepare.  I’m hoping I might get to join in, both for the ride-along and for the analysis of the customer’s requirements.  If so I will definitely write a post about my experience, as it’s been ages since I did any field research of my own, and I’ve never observed pharmaceutical sales.  It would be a great learning experience!

One of the questions that came up during our prep session was regarding measuring impact.  Some die-hard social scientists and designers argue that if you get into those conversations, you’re in a losing proposition.  I just don’t agree.  I think it’s normal to expect that business people will want to measure the impact of their investments, whether services, hardware, or software.  So we talked a lot about how to measure usability.  I explained the ISO 9241 guidelines for usability, summarized by one of my former SAP colleagues Johann Sarmiento in the diagram below:

Then we got to talking about how you really assess satisfaction.  It is a subjective measure, but not to be underestimated!  Satisfaction relates directly to adoption and (if you’re working in the consumer space) critical indicators like Net Promoter Score (NPS).  As mentioned in earlier posts, I like to use the word delight rather than satisfaction, because sometimes I think we mistake efficaciousness of a process or tool with satisfaction.   So today as I was skimming my RSS reader, I came across an article from Flowing Data.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite blogs!  Nathan wrote a brief post about a temporary art installation which used data from a camera to analyze faces and interpret the mood of the city and project a happy face or a sad face on a tall building visible throughout a city in Germany:

And that got me thinking … what about the reflexive impact of this type of installation?  I can think of a few people that I’d like to provide with one of these feedback mechanisms.  What if we had one of these in the office, and if people were grumpy it helped them recognize that and seek to change their behavior?  Ok, maybe that’s a stretch!

The Flowing Data blog post questions what the threshold is for a happy city.  I would go further and ask … I wonder if Lindu Germany got more smiley based on this publicly visible feedback loop?  And, for me the question often comes back to … what can we learn about this as we strive to make better, more consumable, more usable enterprise software?  How can we build awareness of what it means to deliver delight, and where are the mechanisms that provide us insight and feedback into how we’re doing?

3 Comments on “Smiling city

  1. “As mentioned in earlier posts, I like to use the word delight rather than satisfaction, because sometimes I think we mistake efficaciousness of a process or tool with satisfaction.”

    A gem.

  2. Pingback: The Moment of Clarity | Natalie Hanson

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