A great stepping stone to a successful career
As part of my studies in Germany, I currently find myself doing an internship at Move4U in Rotterdam for five months.
Moving industry software isn’t known for its beautiful, cutting edge design and usability. Usually, factors like functionality and reliability are prioritized over design. And this seems to be an industry trend. Maybe this is the case because the available software is a reflection of the industry’s attitude? People in the moving industry are, generically speaking, practical-minded and use a no-nonsense approach. The characteristics of the software correspond to those values.
First, we have to understand that design is not just “making something look good”. A good design is one of the cornerstones of usability. Usability is part of the broader term “user experience” and refers to the ease of use of a product. A usable interface has three main outcomes: it should be easy for the user to become familiar with and competent in using the interface, it should be easy for users to achieve their objective and it should be easy to recall the user interface and how to use it on subsequent visits.
That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? In reality, designing the product is one of the most challenging parts of the process. First of all, a perfect design does not exist. Unlike a math problem, there is no unique correct solution. Studies have shown that the most important decisions about the design of a product are made at the beginning of the design process. Unfortunately, the designer knows comparatively little about the design problems at that time.
“To gain customer insights, we must understand that we are prisoners of what we know and what we believe”. - Mohanbir Sawhney
During my time in the moving industry, I have noticed that people tend to accept existing operating procedures as explained to them and follow them as it is explained to be the truth. There is nothing wrong with that and to some extent, this worked for me most of the time. Currently, our team is working to build the new move management system Reedge. This project challenges me in different ways and forces me to change my working methods.
In my role as Product Owner, I am expected to go through every little detail of every piece of design. Often, I realize that I got used to standard operating procedures of my previous job. Design is an ongoing process and we contently have to challenge the design. The key question that keeps us focussed is: “why?”. Why does the user need that piece of information? Why does a user have to do that?
If we keep asking ourselves that question, we can come up with the very best solutions to relatively complex issues. I firmly believe that the question “why?” will help us make Reedge the most efficient piece of software known to the moving industry.
Paul van de Sande is the product owner of Reedge. From his experience within the moving industry, he knows that organizing a move comes with quite an administrative burden. The main goal of Reedge is to help moving companies make that burden better manageable, so they can focus on providing the best service to their customers. Do you want to know more about this subject or Reedge? Feel free to contact Paul through firstname.lastname@example.org.