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Customer of Your Own Work

weather: partly cloudy
outside: 16.8°C
mood: ...
I am now enrolled as a customer of Work. I feel like a cheesy low-budget daytime TV commercial... not only do I work here, I'm also a client! *aigh* =D

I asked about it years ago and was given the contact person's name, but I've only recently worked up the courage to ask to enroll. I don't know why I was so afraid of being rejected. The regular "worst they can do is say no" kind of pep thinking wasn't helping. But they were happy to have me on board and I could really use first hand experience for real life scenarios.

I didn't say anything about the bank machine incident, just in case. XD

And Holy Mo! I knew we had some usability issues, but now that I have to do things for real, the wonky spots are jumping out at me like never before. It's a bit of a shift in feeling to use it for real and not just for testing purposes. I definitely have ideas on how to help the UI and supporting documentation.

There's one data field that is particularly insane. What the answer is, depends on where you are, what you're doing and where your bank account was born. It really isn't our fault that it's so bananas. It's the banking industry and their bajillion and one codes to route payments in different ways.

The net result is, the label on this data field won't match any vocabulary that your bank's customer service folks would be familiar with. It's this if you're in Canada, it's that if you're in the US, and it's the other thing if you're in Europe. *bzuh* That's confusion that we should try to alleviate.

We could do a better job explaining what we want in this field, what the data we're expecting looks like, how many digits, what format, what magic words to use when asking the bank, etc. The folks at one bank of mine took a guess based on as much as I knew to tell them. I'm not sure if it's entirely right. It's probably close enough, but I won't know until I ask. My other bank told me to "just give them a void cheque and they'll figure it out for you" =D

There are also silly things like a secondary window that only appears if there has been a modification to the main window. I found myself wanting to see the secondary window without making changes, so I wound up having to make a tiny non-modifying change and saving the form to bring it up.

This is not really an acceptable workaround because the Audit Trail will be a sea of stupid little flips and farts which obscures the consequential changes I've made.

I could go on, but I think everyone's dead from boredom now. =) *sigh* One day at a time. One change at a time.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 13th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC)
It is good to get another perspective on the software and what the customers experience. You should find out if your company does "usability tests" with select customers and see if you can get the results of those tests.

I learned a lot about what our sales people expect by sitting in on demos of our software and listening to the types of things they were hoping to find in the product and documentation.
Aug. 13th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
We're getting better at this usability thing, I think.

The only formal usability study I know of is when they did a redesign of one of the web clients. Other than that, it's the feedback we get from the field.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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