I was just leafing through some early screen shots of Microsoft Office 2011 for the Mac, when someone pointed out that the icon for save is still a floppy disk. Most of us haven't handled a floppy disk in years (indeed, if you have a Mac you haven't been able to buy a Mac with a floppy drive for years either), and for the youngest of my children, they won't have even seen one. Here it is in all of its "Ribbon and Toolbar" glory.
This set me thinking, and I'd welcome your thoughts on the subjects:
Should "we" move away from using the floppy icon for save? If so... what should the icon be? Most people don't know what a hard-drive looks like, and with cloud computing... well.. it just gets harder.
Are there other icons in our UI that no longer make sense? Any good examples would be greatly appreciated.
Personally, I think there is nothing better and consistency (all apps use the same icon) probably means that once you've learned it... you've learned it. However, I'm old enough to remember the introduction of 3.5' Floppies.... and 5.25' (you know, back when floppies were floppy)... so perhaps it's time for me to step back a little.
I remember back when I was involved in raising some venture capital, one of the angel investors had not worked in the software industry before. His background was not far off, scientific/engineering, but he asked a very reasonable question:
"When's the software going to be done?"
I remember being almost floored by the question, because the reality is for successful products, it almost never is. There are always things that can be done to make the software more efficient, easier to use, more capable, or just to take advantage of new features of the platform it runs on. This feels as true today as it did then (you'll forgive me if I don't reveal just how long ago it was). We have some products that have matured and require few changes, but these things tend to have cycles and there always seems to be some hot area we need to focus on.
The challenge has never been finding something to work on, but knowing where to focus our resources. The process in place so far has served us very well, using SupportNet you can submit an SR which will then be reviewed. If indeed it's found that it requires an enhancement, it is passed on to marketing (that's my team). Hopefully, at some point you receive an e-mail telling you your feature has been implemented. However, many customers have told me that they want more. They'd like to know how others are getting around the issue today, or even if their requirement is a one off and they shouldn't spend time worrying about it. They'd also like to have more feedback on the process, so that they can start to make plans when a long wanted feature starts the journey to implementation. These are all very reasonable requests.
We've been working for the last couple of months on providing a system that does just that. You will have direct visibility of the state of your enhancement requests, can comment on the enhancement requests of others, and can even indicate your support (or otherwise) of the ideas others have had. This is all backed by a new website called "Mentor Ideas".
The Mentor Ideas website replaces the old Enhancement Request process used in the past, and is available to all customers. You no longer need to submit a Service Request to Customer Support, then wait for your suggestion to be qualified, reviewed, and prioritized. Instead you can go to the Mentor Ideas website and submit your suggestions directly. You will have immediate visibility of your Idea as well as Ideas from other customers. You can discuss them by posting comments. When searching the Mentor Ideas site you may findthat your Idea has already been entered by another user. This will save you time entering the information: you can simply vote for the Idea to help get it promoted. We then use Mentor Ideas to help us understand which enhancements we should consider for future releases.
Click “Post Idea” at the top of the page and fill out the entire form
Your Idea will be given an identification number. For example: “D1543”
It’s that simple! We are not turning the old system off yet, we're still using it in our planning, but we strongly encourage you to use the new system. You'll get an e-mail in the next 24 hours giving you a bit more information, and inviting you to join a Webinar where we'll take you through the basics of the site. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. In true infomercial style... here's that link again: