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Inefficiency is your enemy, and how to defeat it

Who the hell pays with checks anymore?

I just had to wait 2 weeks for my bank to send me a check book via post.

Then I had fill it out (I had to Google how, never written one in my life!), package it with other documents and send it via post.

If you think about it, you’re basically trusting someone to believe that you wrote that check and are allowing them to take money from you, based on what? Your calligraphy? Your signature?

It’s nonsense to me.

And it violates 7 out 10 of the usability heuristics (by Jakob Nielsen):

  1. Visibility of system status: there’s no feedback when you fill out a check. It’s a piece of paper. And you can’t track whether it’s in the process of being paid out or not.
  2. Match between system and the real world: a lot of jargon is involved and it’s not how people speak or write (having to write the digit in words??)
  3. User control and freedom: there’s no “emergency exit” or back button in case you make a mistake.
  4. Error prevention: there’s nothing preventing you from making mistake in the first place. (And will they understand your writing?)
  5. Recognition rather than recall: you have to remember how to fill one out (I know, basic, but annoying if you write 1 every two years).
  6. Flexibility and efficiency of use: why do I have to spell the digit again? And why do I have to draw a line to fill remaining space in sections? Totally inefficient and rigid.
  7. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors: again the only way you can know you’re filling it out wrong, is to know how to fill it out properly. Not much help here.

I might be exaggerating yes, but it’s “legacy” customs like sending a check that remind you how we still do a lot of things just because it’s the ingrained way of doing so.

Some friction in the process is fine, but when I have to send you money?? Big nope.

So, a task for you… today, go and revisit at least one of your processes or systems.

Is that best way to do it? Could you update it and make it more efficient/effective?

It’s the same for a lot of companies that have been built by gradually stitching up piece after piece. In their marketing, product or operations.

And guess what? Researching your audience and learning how they approach your business gives you vital intel into how you can improve this stuff.

Need help? Get in touch.

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