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Wrench in the System


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Table of Contents

FOREWORD DAN BOYARSKI XI PREFACE THE INVISIBLE EDGE XV ACKNOWLEDGMENTS XXIII ONE IT?S JUST A PRODUCT! 1 The World?s Biggest Lemons 2 The Checklist 4 Failure to Communicate 5 Behind the Hype 9 The Wrench on the Front Seat 11 Inventing an Experience 13 Designed to Disappear 18 Just What We Need 20 TWO DESIGN TO DELIGHT 23 The Emperor?s New Enterprise System 25 Software?s Missing Feature 29 Who?s the Customer? 31 Security Solutions: A Better Set of Keys 33 Navigating Notre Dame 37 Communicating by Design 39 Teaching Etiquette to an ATM 44 The Human Factor 49 Form, Function, and Spirit 50 THREE SPECIFY INNOVATION 53 Stranded at Heathrow 53 Don?t Blame Technology 54 The Transparent Dashboard 57 When Green Means STOP 59 Listening to the Receiver 60 ?People Are Different? 62 Removing Roadblocks 64 Easy as Pie: The Tale of a Tool 66 What We Need to Know 69 FOUR CONSIDER THE CONSEQUENCES 71 Lessons from the Underground 72 The Workaround Wizard 75 Continuous Education 77 Building on Assumptions 81 Sprinting toward Second-Rate 86 Automating the Status Quo 90 Frozen in the ICU 92 FIVE THE RIGHT TEAM 97 Designing a New Experience 99 The Science of Common Sense 102 A Tendency to Crash 104 Designers and the Art of Interpretation 106 Looking at a Project from Every Angle 108 The Other Customers 112 Analyzing the Workflow 116 What Your Staff Won?t Tell You 118 A Powerful Partnership 120 SIX FIND OUT WHAT YOU REALLY NEED 121 The Correct Definition 123 Missed Information and Lost Limbs 126 Beyond Technology 127 Meaningful Information 131 A Shortcut through the Warehouse 135 A Common Language 137 Hobos and Hieroglyphs 138 An Accurate Translation 140 Beautiful Data 141 What Business Hasn?t Even Thought Of 142 Channeling Rivers of Energy 146 SEVEN BELIEVE IT WHEN YOU SEE IT 149 When Prototype Becomes Product 151 Envisioning the Chrysler Building 152 The Hidden Costs of Guesswork 156 Charting a New Course 159 Breaking the Cycle of Failure 160 Leave Nothing to Interpretation 165 Rethinking and Redrawing 170 Survey the Landscape 172 Picture It! 176 Showing Why 178 EIGHT REFRESH THE SYSTEM 179 Find Out How They Really Feel 180 Check for Physical Evidence 183 Make Sure That ?Help? Is Helpful 184 Watch Your Language 186 Rethink the Form 187 Eliminate Clutter 187 Consider the Context 189 Take the Measure of the Problem 189 Define Your Priorities 191 Get an Outside Opinion 192 NINE YOUR NEXT SYSTEM 193 What Is This Thing? 194 Is This What We Really Need? 194 A $100 Million Guinea Pig? 197 Will the Basic Model Do the Job? 199 Who Will Be Using It? 200 What?s It Like to Use? 203 Are the Information Displays Informative? 205 How Clearly Does It Communicate? 205 How Forgiving Is It? 206 How Will It Support Our Brand? 207 Is This Product Truly Innovative? 208 What Do Training and Change Management Really Mean? 211 What Real Information Does the Manufacturer Have about User Adoption and Effectiveness? 213 What about Those Service Contracts and Future Upgrades? 214 APPENDIX A MAXIMIZING YOUR DESIGN RESOURCES 215 APPENDIX B TOUGH QUESTIONS FOR CONSULTANTS 219 NOTES 223 ILLUSTRATION CREDITS 229 INDEX 233

About the Author

HAROLD HAMBROSE is the CEO and founder of Electronic Ink, a design consultancy he established in 1990. His company has transformed the operations of many Fortune 500 companies by showing them new ways to collaborate, innovate, and design low-cost solutions to some of their most expensive problems. His clients include British Petroleum, Comcast, Research In Motion, McDonald's, and dozens of other industry leaders, nonprofit organizations, and govern-ment agencies. Electronic Ink is based in Philadelphia and has offices in Chicago, Raleigh-Durham, and London.


"We pulled out a plum in this terrific book by the founder of a US-based design agency examining the vexed question of why business software tends to disappoint. It?s a question that most of us have given up trying to answer. Because the wrong supplier got chosen? Because IT has no idea about business? Because business has no idea about IT? Because the wording of the RFP was bad? Because things changed partway through the selection or development process? Who knows, so we shrug and creep from project hell to the new world?of what also turns out to be project hell. All of these attempted answers have some validity but it?s rare for a writer to come up with such a cogent, trenchant polemic as Hambrose manages here. As you might expect, Hambrose focuses on software design, suggesting that software given to users all too often fails to reflect the way they work or want to work. So it falls into disuse, is detested, or management comes up with some spurious justification for the enormous amount of money invested in it." ?Martin Veitch, CIO Magazine

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