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"I want my site/store/software to be easy to use" is a requirement we hear all of the time.  The original iPod crushed all of the other MP3 players on the market because it was so easy to use.  History is full of examples of leaps of innovation making things so easy we can't imagine doing it any other way.  Early cars were steered with a tiller like you would a small boat for over a decade.  Doesn't that sound fun?  Hard to imagine though because the steering wheel makes so much sense.

The thing with innovation and making things simpler is that it takes insight, creativity, and experimentation.  Apple excels at this and has built a culture around it.  It is one of the reasons that it is one of the most successful companies on the planet.  I am sure that the iPod interface did not just appear one day.

The Easy Button Iceberg

I think it was Dave that used this expression the other day.  Prospects seldom understand what goes on below the surface when developing an "easy to use" solution.  You know that in the ads the Easy Button for Staples is connected to a great ERP system, staff who are well trained, stores that are well stocked, and a great logistics system.  All they show is the button though.

How do you get your own Easy Button?  5 steps:

  1. Question everything.  In an effort to be "easy to do business with", many companies create complex processes or business rules that are fine when there is a human managing them. Do they all need to be accommodated in your web systems?  Go through a need/want analysis.

  2. Plan and document your requirements.  This is the Investigation phase of a project where we build our understanding of all of the different pieces that need to be connected.  If you don't understand what you want the system to do and how it has to interact, you will never get your Easy Button.

  3. Create a model.  We do this with wireframes and simple prototypes.  Only by looking at it can we determine what is missing or what needs a new solution.  A picture is worth a thousand words and this one usually results in changes to Steps 1 & 2.

  4. Test assumptions.  Just because YOU think something is simple doesn't mean it is.  Test it on user groups or run an A/B test on your web site and see which version creates the most conversions.

  5. Plan on a version 2.0.  Realise that you will make mistakes and that it will likely take several versions to get it right.  That is not the end of the world and it is no ones fault.

The time and effort put in to the work below the waterline will help create your very own easy button.



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