Here is an example of what happens around the world over and over again. The Marketing Department for a big company buys up ad space and pay per click ads in search engines, spending about $250,000, to advertise the launch of a new online product .
The product is still in QA, not signed off on, not even ready for Production. It’s literally not working, not passing performance testing and has had no user or usability testing whatsoever. Management demands the IT department to work weekends and nights to get the job done to save Marketing’s ass, which is turn causes employee errors, burn out, resentment and overtime pay.
No one in Management has the oversight to be sure that Marketers aren’t putting the company at risk by selling a product customers will dislike and write bad testimonials about. Everyone blames the QA Department for slowing things down, not realizing the value of these people to the long term health of the company. No one is trained in usability and accessibility, so these areas aren’t included in the game plan. They may come later as “enhancements”, if the budget can handle it.
But if the product doesn’t work and customers are upset, how does the budget improve to pay for these enhancements?
Waste and Greed
There’s continued grumblings in the The Marketing Vs Ux Debate. We decided to explore this annoying and frustrating practice of “my dad is better than your dad”.
By the time product manufacturers have understood the market it has passed them by and their product is a couple of years out of date. Creators of products, other than for the necessities of life, need to be futurists, years ahead of the market curve simply due to the lead time required to bring product to market.
It is also the mantra of large corporations. Smaller enterprises work off the inspiration of at most a few individuals, not the expensive forecasts of marketers and focus groups feeding into R&D departments which need to be kept occupied. It also explains the ‘me too’ lack of inspiration in the products of big companies.
Service providers, however, need to shift with the market, because they supply the ‘now’. A service provider who loses touch with where the market s/he services ‘is’ will soon have very unhappy ex-clients.
It has nothing to do with designers being on top of the political pyramid, or marketing. It’s about a proper management of dynamic tension and balance.
Detroit used to produce legendary concept cars in production runs. They long ago figured out they can get the publicity for being innovative with concept cars that never ship. Greed isn’t served, but lazy is.
Programmers and engineers and manufacturing might not be able to produce something because they, personally, don’t have the skill. More likely it’s not that they can’t, it’s that doing it would take — in their estimation — too much work.
They could build it, they just refuse. And innovation takes another one on the chin. Because the innovation which would produce a barrier to competition always seems like it couldn’t be done before you try …Otherwise It Wouldn’t Be A Barrier.
In my work, I finally realized I’m hired to find the errors that rushing to meet deadlines produced. Yes, it would be smarter to get usability audits done before roll-out, but if not, the sooner they’re performed, the better off a company’s reputation will be.
Come here my talk on How to Add Usability Heuristics into Your SEO Audit on Wednesday, October 8.