I think I have mentioned before that as we get ready to launch PortfolioMinder we are doing a lot of watching people use the product. I would say this ability to learn from how people use our product is a core competency of the people in my group and I suspect it is a core competency of Intuit. It has been fascinating and a bit awe inspiring to watch how the designers and user experience experts work.
This really hit me in a research session on Friday. There is a part of the basic PortfolioMinder data architecture that is key to the product. Over the past year no matter how the screens were laid out people just weren’t getting it. It was fascinating and frustrating to watch how they would fill in the wrong information on the screen and then find that the data didn’t make sense. The designers have been trying different things to make it easy for people to get it right since the beginning of the product design.
On Friday we were watching a pilot tester use our latest build and he Got It! He put the right data in the right place. What was weird and cool at the same time was that it was easy. It was obvious and it seemed like no big deal. He filled in the data and everything made sense. No one will ever comment on how well this screen works. It just seems obvious. But I am really impressed with how hard it was to make it easy.