June 9, 2015

...Learn TDD with Codemanship

Focus On What The Users Care About, Not What The System Cares About

Just time before my morning conference call to draw your attention to a very interesting blog post that was tweeted earlier about how a "delay" in bus services reported by Transport for London (TfL) was not really a delay from the passenger's perspective, highlighting the dangers of designing services - in this case, passenger information systems - from the system perspective and not the user's.

I think this is a classic example of a system focus taking precedent over a user focus. The gist of it was that TfL were reporting "delays" of up to 40 minutes on bus services, but when the blogger caught a bus during that time period, he sailed through the streets of London and arrived without any delay at his destination.

As he describes it:

"From TfL’s point of view, bus x is supposed to go past point y at time z. If it gets to z late, it has been delayed.2 Quite rightly, TfL care about specific buses and the overall service. But from my point of view, if I get to point y at time z, I am happy – and will be blissfully ignorant of the fact that I am on bus q which should have got to y half an hour earlier"

It might serve as a timely reminder that we should make a bigger effort to distinguish between features we think our system should have and things our users care about, and be driven by the latter, not the former.

Posted 2 years, 6 months ago on June 9, 2015