User Interface

The best computer software is of no value unless it has a user interface that a person can figure out how to use the program.  User interface testing is the final, and usually the most important aspect of software programming. Too often, we become so focused on our mission that we forget that others might not be able to figure out how to communicate with us.

People like to communicate in four ways: directly, by phone, by text, by email. I recently ran into a problem in which a company emailed me and I replied to that email, not knowing that no one checks that email account. I discovered later that they preferred phone conversations because they were less likely to be documented.

In order to cater to our clientele, we need to understand how they wish to be communicated to and figure out a way to accommodate that method. In the animal welfare business, it is best to communicate with your clients in a manner that can be recorded. But, whatever way your clients choose, attempt to accommodate them.

If you are a government organization, keep in mind that any communications that you have will fall under the records retention laws. It becomes most difficult to maintain text messages under these laws.

Most government IT Departments have software that automatically copies every email for the sole purpose of keeping a record for someone who requests information under the Freedom of Information Act. If you collect any records, you can be sure that at some time, someone will want access to them.

Although phone calls can be recorded. It is very difficult to search through phone records for specific messages or keywords.

Although you want to accommodate your community, keep in mind how you’ll deal with recording their dealing with you. If you prefer to talk to them on the phone, make sure you have someone that answers your incoming calls. And in my case, if someone emails you, make sure you respond to replies or clearly state in the message how you must communicate back.