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An environment centered approach for application design

Last week, on the 11th of december, there was a very good meeting in the area of business user named “Web 2.0 for the business user”. A lot of ideas came up there and were openly discussed. Obviously, the participants brought even more ideas than anybody could understand in the short time. So we all are looking for further meetings pointing to the issues.

In preparation of this meeting every speaker had to provide a short intro to his topics, here is one of mine:

In my opinion, there will be 7 aspects that will change the work experience of business users in the near future

  1. RSS Enterprise
  2. Mashups
  3. Wikis and Corporate blogs
  4. Semantic web technologies
  5. Collective Intelligence
  6. Social Network Analysis and Folksonomies
  7. Mobile Collaboration

All of these technologies will affect the business users. But that is not the most important point. Don’t think about technical possibilities, these times are gone. In today’s IT, functions are commodity, almost everything is possible. So your main question, if you develop a software, should be: “What does a user or a company really need?”

What a boring question, everybody does this, right? Right?? Did anybody think about this sentence?

Shouldn’t the question go further and ask: “What are the consequences of a certain product feature for the working environment and also the social interaction as well as the personal feeling to the user?”
Don’t have a user centered design. Have a user-environment approach. That also could mean, that you do not only sell software, perhaps you have to sell a complex solution, that covers the holistic user experience, integrating software, display technology, phone solution, conferencing integration and perhaps even the optimized desk (if the user will still need one) and the needed chair.

In a world that is more and more networking itself, everything that is offered to a user, should be done in the light of this more holistic network approach.

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