5 March 2013 | Design

Jobs to be done

Author: Mossy Breen

Why does an end-user visit a web application or website? They want to get something done. Regardless of the stakeholders agenda, it is important to ensure the end-users agenda is catered for.

The majority of applications will have shared goals between the stakeholder and the user (e.g where a sign up is a success criteria). It’s important to hold on to that goal and not let other (marketing/data collection) factors slow down the process for the user.

Over the years there have been 2 core preachers on this topic in my mind. Gerry McGovern and the good folks at 37signals.

Des Traynor recently interviewed Ryan Singer of 37signals on the importance of ensuring the end-user gets the job done when developing an application.

[…] there’s this idea that people are always trying to make some sort of progress. And, the only reason that people bother to buy your tool, or use your software, is because they are in a specific situation and they’re trying to make some progress—get from here to there—and they’re struggling to do that.

This rings true when developing a new website or application for a client. We constantly have to remind ourselves that our end-users are here to get something done and be gone. They don’t hang around enjoying the moment and soaking up the atmosphere. This isn’t a music festival, it’s a web application.

Now for the hard part. At Dovetail, we work for clients and the buck stops with them. It is important for us to communicate our decisions to them; we are hired by them as the experts in software development. Can we convince our clients to feel the same as we do about certain design decisions? 

Sell your UX Solutions to your Clients. Smashing Magazine have an interesting piece on different types of clients, and different ways to build trust:

We have to understand who our clients are, what is important to them and what their goals are. And then we have to deliver work that not only meets the needs of end users, but also satisfies the personalities within the company itself.

By bringing a client through our thought process and the evolution of an idea, we can ensure they are on our side when decisions become more difficult. Client trust is vital, and it must be earned.

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