What a fantastic widget!

by Viv Cole on January 24, 2013

You may have noticed that more and more websites are allowing you to download appointments into your calendar e.g. www.nationalrail.co.uk lets you get the train time you have looked up straight into Outlook with just the click of a button. Though the technology for sending iCalendar files (.ics) from the internet to your Outlook is by no means new, it’s a great example of people thinking through what the user journey is and making smart use of technology to make it effortless. It’s a hassle to click between two screens and type in the information, so it’s great to see that people have identified this as an insight and done something about it.

I can hand on heart claim that I had the same brilliant idea years ago before the technology got built. Pleasingly I’ve not missed out on making a fortune as, though it’s really useful, it’s not been developed as a revenue earner…and it’s freed me up enough time to write this posting…

Once you’ve experienced how easy this is, imagine yourself in ten years’ time looking back. You would be amazed that there was a time when this technology was not used for supporters to download a season’s worth of their sports team’s fixtures straight into Outlook, for bookings of restaurants, cinemas, theatres, doctor’s appointments and many more.

People who build or commission websites surprisingly often overlook the idea of looking at user journeys through the consumer’s eyes for the most common tasks. Take some time (ideally over a few cups of tea) to follow the processes that you’d like learners to follow and check how effortless you’ve really made them. Have you used to technology to help free up their attention so that they can focus on the key learning points?

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