Life’s Too Short

Portland has awesome street art and signage that complement the city’s reputation of being quirky, diverse, and progressive. This billboard caught my attention.

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All photos by Mark Baker

The exploding world of mobile apps has set a new benchmark for how technology should work. In our daily lives, there is an app for every purpose: to check the weather, get sports scores, catch up on news, read a magazine, share updates with friends, book travel reservations, shop, or track workouts. One of my favorite examples is the Amazon mobile app with its ability to dynamically scan a product or barcode.

As apps have gotten increasingly easier to use and more refined, the same progression cannot be found in the traditional software that most businesses rely on. There is usually a distinct difference between applications written from the ground up after approximately 2008 and those written earlier. Earlier applications (think airline websites, like United) have lots of functionality on single screens, require training to use, and come from a “one size fits all” mindset. Even programs that have received a “face lift” can’t compare in terms of ease of use, personalization, and multi-functionality.

New approaches (Uber, an interface to a ride service, is a perfect example) are proliferating, but lots of traditional services can’t get from here to there. Unfortunately, I think we’re going to be stuck with the legacy of these systems for some time.

Life is too short to stick with outmoded technology when there is something new and better available. Consumers will continue to gravitate to the tools they find more accessible and efficient. In an upcoming post, I will address one of the fundamental toolsets that will help us get there: service design. This holistic approach focuses on the user experience when designing process, tools and service. Stay tuned.


One Comment on “Life’s Too Short”

  1. […] a recent blog entry Life’s Too Short, I referenced the emerging field of service design that is focused on the creation of […]


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