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You had me at hello!

stevec January 5, 2010

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Almost everyone has said or quoted this statement some time in their life.   I often use it when I find a product or service that’s easy to use.   Here at ACS, a big part of what we do is consider how our products are used by you – the consumer.    How can our products make your life easier and more productive?   Part of the answer is a focus on usability.   Usability in the most basic sense of the word is “the absence of frustration”; but there is so much more to usability when dealing with products and services.

For ACS, usability denotes the ease with which you can use our product to achieve your goals.  The product should be efficient, learnable, and should perform well to meet your needs.  That’s a big challenge for us to achieve for all of our clients, but it’s important that we remain committed to make ACS products with the highest standards.

I’m very excited about some of the latest efforts in this field.   A good example of this, outside the ACS realm, is the Amazon.com one click option.   Amazon started out as an online bookstore and has evolved to an online giant selling everything from a gallon of milk to an iTouch.   But their vast array of products is NOT why they are my #1 shopping place, the “You had me at Hello” quality is the one click shopping.  They have an option that offers me the ability to save my credit card information and shipping preferences so I can check out with one click of the mouse.   WOW!   Amazon.com found a way to make me delight in the way a transaction occurs.

Just like my Amazon.com experience, we want you to have “You had me at Hello” experiences with ACS products; but more than that we want you to find our products useful and efficient.  One thing we’re doing to make sure we’re on the right track is going on the road.   That’s right; we’re taking prototypes and mockups of what we’re building out to clients and the public for usability studies.  In these studies we’re asking questions that help us determine how discoverable options are, if the correct words are being used to offer direction on the screen, if the flow and function of the screen is appropriate, and how easy is it to accomplish a task.

We are also gathering information about how ministry is being accomplished in churches.   It’s so exciting to talk to people just like you who are making ministry happen in their communities.   These conversations help us understand how you work on a day to day basis and how we can build our products to streamline and improve that process.

We are always happy to have the opportunity to visit with churches and their staff while conducting these studies.  We’re also going out in the general public for usability studies.   I recently asked the person next to me at a movie premiere to test one of our iPhone apps.     We’ve also asked people in hotel lobbies, conferences, and Starbucks to be part of our studies.   Our goal is to have parts of our software that make you want to shout “You had me at hello!”

If you would like to participate in a usability study or just have us visit you and learn, please e-mail us at usability@acstechnologies.com.  This ultimately helps us make your interaction with our software a better experience.  Thanks in advance for your participation!

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