The speed of human progress

Fascinating factoid from this post on Alertbox about the improvements in usabilty over the years:

Human progress happens at 4% per year, averaged across many fields, ranging from 2% to 7%

How interesting! I wonder what the state of play is for ELNs…. I suspect we’d like to think it’s something like 10% or 20%, but I fear that if we took a good look at what’s really going on, it would be somewhat lower! One of the problems we currently face as an industry is there’s too much marketing spin in our communications and not enough real understanding of what’s going on.

I’d like to think at Amphora we’re on the realistic side – replacing the Paper Lab Notebook is a hard problem and we’re only going to get better if we pay attention to the whole problem and are clear-eyed about what’s really happening. Geeks at heart, we run a lot of stats about the performance of the business and customer experience and it produces really thought-provoking insights.

It isn’t just about the product, there’s lots more involved to the customer experience – from the sales process, pilot & training, commercial packaging, infrastructure requirements etc. all have a significant impact. Interestingly from a product perspective it is often more about what functions you leave out rather than making a complex mess, which does take a lot of discipline. For example we were recently eliminated from an RFP because we didn’t meet a “mandatory” requirement but we’d prefer to lose a deal than bend PatentSafe in weird ways which would lead to a more complex product which was harder for everyone to use. Purity of design is a good thing (yes, we’re Apple fans!).

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