Yesterday, at Apple’s introduction of iPhone 4.0, Steve Jobs said about competitive products:

“It’s like we said on the iPad: if you see a stylus, they blew it. In multitasking, if you see a task manager, they blew it. Users shouldn’t have to ever, ever, EVER think about that stuff.”

I love that quote. Why?

Because it shows why Apple is uncompromising in trying to bring their customers the best user experience that they possibly can. It is exactly the reason that they don’t launch mediocre products, in spite of media critics who think, for example, that Apple should have launched a net book or are impatient for features that other phones have, but that are poorly executed. They won’t do something the way everybody else does it when they believe that they can find a better way.

We try to take the same approach in developing business software applications. For the most part, our customers are not programmers; they’re not operations experts; and they’re not mathematicians. But they are really smart business managers who want to use business analytics to solve important high-value problems quickly. They want to think about getting to the solution – not how to write equations or how to integrate applications or how to program a spreadsheet.

For example, when we design a form we have certain criteria that must be met, such as:

  • Minimize redundant data entry by using form objects such as drop-down menus
  • Enable and disable controls based on the users selection
  • Avoid the need to display “Error” screens – if we come to a point where a user might get an “Error” screen, then we try to see how they got there and how we can prevent it.
  • Make sure a full description of each form’s functions is one click away.

Our users do a lot of careful business thinking in developing their project portfolios and capital budgets. When it comes time to prioritize their projects and optimize their portfolios, we don’t want them to have to think about programming or equations or using different software applications to perform these key operations. Our users “shouldn’t have to ever, ever, EVER think about that stuff.”



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