How often do you ask for something from staff or providers and get something very different?
A simple tip is to make it measurable instead. That might sound easy on the face of it but how do you make the intangible measurable? I’ve found getting the look and feel of things across to my contractors particularly difficult as I’m not a graphic designer myself so I generally find myself whiteboarding things or using Visio to draw up a concept.
For me, I found that pulling apart what my design concepts are trying to achieve to be the easiest way to approach this issue.
Let’s look at 3 scenarios:
- Easy to use: This is the MOST common request. Everyone wants their product and system to be ‘easy to use’. This request is open to so much interpretation it makes it difficult for anyone to get it right first time. So instead describe what “easy to use” will achieve. Typically, easy to use is about getting to what you want quickly.
- Make it work on everything: Well everything is a bit difficult to work out. Making a website work on a toaster is particularly difficult. Do you know who your target market is? Your ideal client? What is your standard technology in your business if its an internal project?
Your marketing team or expect should know the details about your customer – if that’s you because you are everything in your business, you might want to find out what your ideal customers are using on a day to day basis. If its for something internal, your IT staff or provider should know.
Why is this important? Why not just say everything? Because your budget probably doesn’t cover ‘everything’. Unlimited funds could make things happen on everything. Instead, this process of identifying the critical what to work on keeps the cost and timeframe for delivery to a minimum.
- Easy to Update: Similar to the ‘Easy to Use’ point, updating is generally about performance but it’s important to note the difference in how you explain things. Updating can be interchanged with ‘Change’ or ‘modify’. Consider a common dashboard or report style view of information – if the information is there in front of you and you need to change it, do you want to go through several more clicks to get to it? Or do you simply want to unlock that table as its displayed and make the necessary change?
If there are common and repetitive tasks that require staff or customer data entry make it readily accessible. Editable tables and lists are common ways to do this.
It can be a tricky balance between giving so much detail that you limit new and innovative features and being too vague that you don’t quite get the outcome you needed. Spending the time up front to get the important points across to the developer or implementation team will save a lot of time and money in the long run.
Money spent up front can help ensure minimal waist in both time and money in the future. Bring your outcomes to the table in very tangible and measurable way and you will have far greater success with your projects.
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