A post over at Smashing Magazine by Matt Reamer about designing a product got us here at ARMA thinking about how we interface with customers.   Reamer looked at four aspects of user experience (that he attributes to Jeffrey Rubin):

  • Usefulness
    product enables user to achieve their goals — the tasks that it was designed to carry out and/or wants needs of user.
  • Effectiveness (ease of use)
    quantitatively measured by speed of performance or error rate and is tied to a percentage of users.
  • Learnability
    user’s ability to operate the system to some defined level of competence
    after some predetermined period of training. Also, refers to ability
    for infrequent users to relearn the system.
  • Attitude (likeability)
    user’s perceptions, feelings and opinions of the product, usually captured through both written and oral communication.

All four of these areas are places that small businesses can also look at their customer-facing employees and points of interaction.  Is the information that you provide through your website actually useful to a prospective customer or business partner?  Are your communication channels effective?  Do interactions with your portals or employees improve after the partners learn how your organization works or do they get trapped by inconsistency? 

Look at your organization from new eyes, and with the intention of improving usability.  It may surprise you.