How does software make you feel?
In this blog, we explore why software is often not designed with our wellbeing in mind, and why we think this should change. We argue you won't remember the specs of a software product, but you will remember how it makes you feel! With Harmonizer, we believe in offering a worry free service, unburdening the organisation and IT Teams of any integration issues and work.Scroll to next section
Do you remember that one piece of software, beautifully coded, that allowed for smooth execution of your daily tasks and made you a happier person?
Nope, nothing comes to mind?
You’re not alone. But it is our mission to change that!
In the famous Maya Angelou’s words -
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
We would like to know, does that just apply to humans, and could that not also apply to computers and software?
Our own philosophy is that our applications need to make your life better, business better, and reduce friction, unburden your teams, decrease worries - allowing you to focus on your business - and increase happiness!
What is driving this? (The million dollar question)
So the key question this blog aims to explore is: How do some technologies manage to give us feelings of joy, pride, or connection, while others do not?
There is a vast array of root causes available on the internet, for why some technologies leave us feeling depleted and all sorts of other negative emotions.
One blog post suggests that it’s the lack of stellar software engineers available.
Another goes as far as to predict the ‘software apocalypse’, citing lots of awful examples of software malfunction, due to spaghetti code and an ever more complex and interwoven world consisting of layers of software. From the recent Metaverse announcements one can see the point.
Some then say there is too much time pressure on software development projects, so developers can’t be creative with problem solving, and really think things through.
Perhaps there is some truth to all of these.
This begs the question where the emphasis does go, during software development?
Is the emphasis on the industry knowledge, on bells, whistles, or shiny things?
Or perhaps, on money? A MVP, IPO, capital raise, or just hitting targets in the next quarter?
One of the top hits of a Google search for ‘purpose of software development’ summarises it nicely. Mark the words in bold:
“Bottom line: software development companies create solutions that meet the needs of their customers. They often specialize in different industries or businesses and have insight into what their customers require to be successful.”
While this purpose sounds fine in theory, it often does not align with reality. We find ourselves sitting in an office, frustrated, staring at one spinning? wheel of doom or another, or trying to figure out how to progress through an application where we can’t help but think it could be easier.
Perhaps we are not the real customers of software after all, even though we are the users?
This blog post suggests an answer: it may indeed be due to software companies overly focussing on buyer (CIO) needs:
“Enterprise software is bad because it separates developers from users. A chief complaint is that it serves the CIO rather than corporate users; ease of use is lost in development. ... In other words, powerful central administration with end-user ease of use is forgotten”
Meaning, the ‘customer’ equates the buyer and not the user, and hence the user experience is secondary, an afterthought.
The same blog says “So long as the first order of business is security and administration, often taken to wacky extremes, rather than creativity and user-friendliness, it's unclear how anything will change.”
But why, do we ask, can’t it be both secure and wonderful?
Luckily it appears that with the combination of software and services, such as by our own company, some of these lacks of incentives seem to be overcome:
“When software is a service and not a product, companies will have more incentive to make it good rather than “good enough to ship."
It would certainly align incentives of developers more with those of users. Therefore, the move to cloud in general which is accompanied by lots of new SaaS vendors in particular, can be a great way to address this issue. The relatively recent area of expertise in UX/UI is also of great assistance on the journey to happier software.
With Harmonizer, we furthermore believe in specialising in what you are good at. We are a niche provider of cloud integration managed services, which is a really narrow area, however this allows us to do this niche yet important area, really well.
And there are other holistic schools of thought too, for those that are interested. There is some great research available, amongst others by the University of California, that focuses on Positive Computing. This article cites six types of positive user experiences, meaning there are avenues by which software development can focus on how to make humans happy, such as offering social supports, and supporting engagement and wellbeing. There is also this book, about designing computers and programs to support psychological well-being and human potential.
Positive approaches like these mean moving away from a focus on efficiency to put human well-being front and center.
Can technology alleviate our stress in a more profound way? Let’s discuss!
And is it just about UI/UX, and the user’s journey with the software, or can it be about more? The University of California research seems to suggest a user's interaction with technology can be about a more holistic sense of happiness, derived from using technology - touching on the domains of mindfulness, empathy and compassion.
We believe software should serve you, make you happy, and be affordable. This is our promise to you - our service is guaranteed worry free and affordable. If you find it isn’t, you can ask for your money back. Because we put our money where our mouth is. And once you know us, and how our software makes you feel, we hope that this will make sure you will forever remember us :)
Sounds interesting? We are happy to discuss at any time - and as you know by now, coffee is always on us. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Photo credit Jill Wellington on Pixabay