Enjoyable Software: Less Force, More Distance

Joel ConfinoNewsLeave a Comment

Fall Colors

The Haydle team has a mission: to build software that both makes you more productive and that you enjoy using.  Both are equally important, because both are intertwined: two side of the same coin.

The Drudgery of Poor Software

You spend most of your waking hours at work.  If you work in an office, you use software for most of your day.  If you work in a typical office, you use bad software for most of your day.  And you probably hate that software with a passion.  You get your job done in spite of that software, not because of it.  How many times do you have to grit your teeth in anticipation of the frustration before opening an application that you must use to get your job done?

Lots of “business” software falls into this category.  The justification is typically, “It is a pain to use, but overall if everyone uses it, it is good for the company.”  Torturing your employees with bad software is not good for your company.  It puts obstacles into their path, and tampers ambition to get things done.  If its use is mandatory, people figure out ways to circumvent it or use it half heartedly.  I’ve seen it first hand many times.

The Power of Enjoyable

What is your most enjoyable experience in life?  How about this description by Ben Lehnert:

Right on time you arrive at the sushi place. You can see the bright glowing logo sign on the wall that guides the way to the main entrance and you take the elevator to the top floor. The interior is fantastic, a mix of old traditional elements and classy modern furniture. You instantly think by yourself the food must be amazing here. The guy on the phone didn’t promise too much, the view from the table is stunning and even better than you imagined. Let’s have a look into the perfectly crafted menu, with its heavy natural paper, the embossed logo and this very clear modern typeface. You order one of the three course meals that already sound delicious. They serve you the fresh sushi on big white plates with beautifully and carefully laid out decorations around the plate. Not to mention, you are served in just the right timing in between the courses.

 

After you’ve finished the three main courses, the chef surprises his guests with a sweet little desert. The perfect ending to some evening hours that seemed to just fly by. You request the bill, that get’s handed to you in a small folder made of the same natural paper as the menu. Tip? Of course! This was a great dinner night. Everything single part of it fits the others, like pieces of a puzzle, which, in the end form a colorful picture. You’ll definitely recommend this impressive place to your friends. And one thing’s for sure, this was just the first of a lot of dinners to follow here. It’s on your way out that you recognize the piano player in the corner who had played these subtle jazz tunes during your entire evening at the restaurant.

 

This is great user experience

The software you use at work, business software that has a serious purpose, should be enjoyable to use.  It should actually change your mood and make you feel more relaxed while increasing your productivity.  This is the kind of software we want to build.

Think that is a bit of a stretch?  Here is a real world example.  You are on a tight deadline at work and get stuck on a problem.  Your stress level rises rapidly and you frantically search through documents looking for the answer.  You know someone at your company knows the answer, but you can’t email everyone.  Then you find three documents with conflicting answers and you can’t figure out which one is the right one.  Time is running out.  You need at expert answer quickly but it’s getting late in the day and people are starting to go home.  A knot starts to form in the pit of your stomach.  Ever experienced this?

Then you go to Haydle and ask your question.  It only took you 30 seconds.  Within minutes, several experts have provided high quality answers.  You realize that armed with the correct answer, you are going to make your deadline.  Your stress level immediately starts to go down.  You mood shifts from panic to calm.  Haydle replaced the fear of not knowing the correct answer with the calm of being confident that you know the correct answer.

Enjoyable software is powerful.  Some specific benefits of enjoyable software include:

  • People are more productive when they can use enjoyable software because it takes less effort to get things done.  The classic equation for calculating work is: work = force x distance.  With enjoyable software, you need less force to go a greater distance.
  • People want to use enjoyable software so naturally they use it often and engagement is high.  Software is only valuable if people will use it.
  • People’s work experience improves when they can use enjoyable software.  An essential way to retain good employees is to provide an innovative workplace.

The Haydle team believes strongly enough in enjoyable software that it isn’t optional: it is a core value.  It is the secret sauce that makes software work well.  And we won’t build our software any other way.