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Untangling Technology

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 by Slaughter Development

The New York Times recently reported on the rise of usability professionals; individuals dedicated to making technology easier to use. Curiously, these experts are nicknamed “untanglers.”

An overview of the field appears in the lead of the article:

SOMETIMES there is a huge disconnect between the people who make a product and the people who use it. The creator of a Web site may assume too much knowledge on the part of users, leading to confusion. Software designers may not anticipate user behavior that can unintentionally destroy an entire database. Manufacturers can make equipment that inadvertently increases the likelihood of repetitive stress injuries.

The distance between the designer of a system and the user of a system is a problem which is not unique to technology. In fact, this separation is a key source of countercompetence. Creators of software programs, labor-saving devices and even business workflows often know a tremendous amount about the ecosystem surrounding their brainchild. Compare this with the everyday users of the inventions, who just want to use tools in order to complete work.

For the workplace systems, the best experts offer methodology engineering since bridging the gap between complex systems and the people who use them is an engineering function. If the gap between the people who manage your processes and the people who execute them is wide, contact Slaughter Development to set up a consultation. We help people and systems work together to achieve success.

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

Embracing The Fun Of Technology - Technology is not a rare concept to come by in today’s society. Yet, while many embrace advances and strive to become experts, others may find it daunting and difficult to understand. Robby Slaughter, a principal with Slaughter Development, recently discussed this topic on the Marketing Tech Blog. Read on »
Over-investing in BPM Technology - In an eWeek article, Laura Mooney advocates “investing” in business process management software.  Unfortunately, making yet another technology purchase will only contribute to the methodological problems in an organization. Read on »
Technology and Grilled Cheese - Comfort food comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors. But, as any elementary-aged child would agree, nothing tops a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. Unless of course you’re someone that not only wants comfort but convenience as well. If you fit in that category, it gets even better. Read on »
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