I read the Mail Chimp newsletter, even though I am not a customer, because they occasionally have articles that talk about the human factors issues related to email newsletters. I enjoyed the latest issue because it narrated the story of their design process for Release 9.0, a mistake they made in modifying the functionality, and how they recovered from it.
Some of the mistakes they made are easy to see in retrospect, but I wonder how many of us would have made the same (or similar) mistakes in the same situation. I was impressed by their smooth recovery and the way they maintained strong and frequent communication with their customers during the process. The story highlights four steps of their process that I found worth sharing and perhaps starting a discussion.
- Identifying the initial improvement idea
- Implementing the idea to serve the majority of users
- Discovering that there were edge cases who had vital needs that were now unsupported
- Fixing the new release so that it combined the original improvements and the edge case groups’ vital needs
This was only possible because of the smooth communication they maintained along the way with their users. We often talk a good game about user centered design, but I think this is a good illustration of that process in action. It is also a good example of where edge cases are important to include in the design process.
And for my rare self-promotion here on the EID social media site – see more on edge cases from my talk at last year’s User Experience Day in the 2013 HFES Annual Meeting Proceedings.
Image credit: MailChimp