Steve Krug would agree that thinking is a bad thing. Not that thinking in general is bad. I’ve found that it is actually a good thing.
Thinking can be bad when it is a barrier between a user and what they want. People don’t want to spend more time thinking about how to do something — they just want to do it.
It is why simpler sites win. Simpler means less thinking and a better experience for the average user.
The same ideology can and should be applied to all other realms. The “waste no brain cells” approach is often applied in marketing and user experience areas during the design phase of a web application. But on a larger scale, shouldn’t it be applied to an entire organization? To a community? To their actual ideas?
Take a look at Dell’s idea storm and I think you’ll get the idea (or ideas!). They are taking a fresh approach to consumer affairs and empowering users with the ability to tell them what they think — without thinking too much in the process.
The concept behind this site is simple. Users have all the good ideas, and a company ultimately wants to please its users. It is a tool to bridge the gap between Dell’s future plans and the dreams of its community. After all, shouldn’t they be the same? It’s not ALL about profit, is it?
So I say bravo, Dell, and I hope it works out. But it seems like a lot of ideas just sit there for a while. We’ll see how it goes. Ones I liked in particular:
- Have Firefox pre-installed as default browser
- IdeasStorm needs more participation from Dell Management and Employees
They lead me to wonder — who is considering items that are **UNDER CONSIDERATION**?
In open source I don’t think projects or organizations lack feedback or tools for aggregating feedback. It’s just that they are too complicated and seem daunting to someone who just want to tell us what they are thinking.
I worry about the alienation of a large percentage of users. In the Mozilla community, specifically, we rely heavily on Bugzilla as a bulletin board for user feedback. In order to report a bug and let their ideas be known, a user has to take a few steps:
- Create a Bugzilla account
- Sign in
- Figure out what product they need file a bug in
- Figure out what component they need to file the bug in
- Figure out what all the other stuff means
- Follow Bugzilla rules on how to file a bug
- Realize they should look for dupes
- Look for dupes
- File the bug
- Wait a while and hope something happens
Sorry, you lost John Doe on step 1. He decided to grab a beer and watch the Sopranos instead. It requires less thinking and is much more entertaining.
So what about this?
- Click on something
- Say what you think (while optionally creating an account if you want to track your idea)
- Hit submit
- If it’s a great idea and you’re up for it, track responses and participate in resulting discussions
I can see a need for this in almost every organization — small or large. I think the advantages would be huge and the investment relatively small given the frameworks we have at our disposal and the simplicity of the application. What do you think?