While serving aboard the USS Boxer, I was one of about 1100 crew members who were broken down into departments and divisions. Each one of us had our own specialized training, tools and responsibilities. I would not expect to bring my tools from the radio room to perform maintenance on the engine, or on an aircraft, nor would I expect an engineer to come up and perform maintenance on the equipment in the radio room. Though I could go down and do basic work on somebody else’s equipment, with my training and tools, I would not be able to do some of the more specialized tasks; the same applies to the corporate world.
Today, I’m with SDL, and serve as the team’s User Experience Designer. I work on a Mac, but people on PCs surround me. I believe the tools needed to complete my job are better in a Mac’s toolbox, as opposed to a PC’s. As somebody that uses specialized software, I know that I use certain programs to complete specific tasks. I expect the users of our software do the same. They don’t use Contenta S1000D to manage their payroll; they use Contenta to manage their content databases.
I also think your software workflow should be satisfying while using it; this is best accomplished by using well-designed software for the task you’re trying to accomplish. A user should always try to use the correct tool for the job. My goal for Contenta is to have every interaction be a good one; I want the user to be happy to open the software. Therefore, if you use Contenta as a Project Manager, you should have the same positive experience as a Technical Writer (to name just two of the possible Contenta users). I want all of the users’ experiences to joyful, regardless of their role – though I don’t expect everybody to use Contenta, since there is more to the Contenta Publishing Suite than just Contenta S1000D. Moreover, I don’t expect one user to use all of SDL’s software offerings, let alone every part of the Contenta Publishing Suite. After all, I’m not writing this in the same program I use to create digital assets for the development team.
So today I sit at my desk and look around, I see people performing different functions, but working toward the same goal, to make great software. To accomplish this, each of us needs our own specific set of tools, which includes software. Trust me; you don’t need to get a Master-at-Arms to work on a ship’s mast, why would you expect a back-end developer to create code in the design software that I use? At SDL, we have a community of UX Designers that make it their goal to provide a great experience for all of our users, whether they’re managing a publication or getting a website translated into multiple languages. So, there isn’t a piece of magic software that a company can pick up and manage everything from payroll to their code base, and there shouldn’t be. You need to bring the correct toolbox for the job.
If you’d like to participate with SDL in UX research, please let me know at email@example.com
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