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Consultant Interviews a Consultant: Live on The Content Wrangler

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AccelaWork partner Robby Slaughter founder was interviewed by The Content Wrangler, a popular website dedicated to information architecture and content management.

Highlights from the interview include:

TCW: I know you are a usability evangelist (among other things). Like me, I’m certain you have a list (written or in your head) of five things that just drive you nuts about the web. Share with our readers five usability challenges that should be easy to tackle, but for one reason or another, are making the web harder or more confusing to use than it should be.

RS: Redesigns – The web development business (and the marketing VPs who employ them) is obsessed with cosmetic makeovers. The dramatic destruction of an old site with a new site that does exactly the same thing, only newer sounds like a great idea. However, doing so alienates countless users who are accustomed to an existing model. Instead, upgrades should be gradual, with new features introduced as optional instead of mandatory. When faced with a new design, users should be able to safely exit to the old familiar approach as they learn your new system. Stop pulling the rug out from under your users. Believe in their ability to change, but help make that change as painless as possible.

Scott Abel

© Flickr user Roebot

This is perhaps the most emblematic example of business process: stakeholders sometimes want to redesign everything from the ground up as a way to sweep away problems. Yet ironically, dramatic change is extremely difficult for many others who are involved. The best consulting firms will steer away from advocating wholesale change at all costs. Instead, they will look for small improvements that can have a tremendous impact.

An overnight switch, even if it has been in the works for months or years, will create incredible tension in and around an organization. Change requires time and emotional investment. Companies not only need to define what needs to be modified, but to provide support over the course of many months to make that change permanent.

The full interview from Scott Abel is at:

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