Gavin Jocious has written an article that really struck a note with me. I remember back in 2004, O'Reilly Media came out with a series of books about things that annoy people about technology. They invited people to send in their annoyances for the next book. They had so many coming in they published a whole series of books. But in Gavin's article "You Are Annoying Your Customers... " he asks "Do you know why?" Gavin writes :
From social media to retargeting ads, marketers continue to add new communication channels, and with each one we add the ability to sell but we also increase our ability to annoy. For example, ask anyone, "What annoys you about technology?" You'll undoubtedly get a quick answer. Ask the same person why they find such things annoying, and the answer will not be as clear. Slow Internet connections, repetitive Facebook ads, auto-correct, a portable thumb-drive's inability to plug in the first try... these things annoy us, but why?
In today's world of computers, mobile devices and online social networking, everyone has come to have very clear expectations. This is partially being driven by technology -- and the speed of technology. How many times have you heard that this or that can be done with a few clicks? I had a client ask why I couldn't show her the changes in a PDF piece instantly. I had to explain there were several pieces of software involved, each of which had to be used to make her changes, then save and save out for the next operation -- finally culminating in converting it all to an optimized PDF so It could be posted for approval. People really have come to expect pure speed from technology.
Gavin latches on to the term "norm violations"
Norm violations are actions that are not targeted at you personally, but they violate certain standards that you may have. As NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman, multimedia editor for NPR's Science Friday, point out, norm violations are actions that conflict with our value systems or "destroy a reasonable expectation."
As marketers and graphic designers in a digitally connected world, we all have to be alert to signals that our message is not getting out clearly, or has been derailed by some faction that 'annoys' people. We need to ask all the right questions to find those rare instances that might chase off a market segment -- or generate a 'norm violation.'
Adobe is gambling on their "norm" by moving everything to the creative cloud. All seems to be going just fine, but at some point their users are going to run up against "Norm violations" or ie: unexpected problems. I personally have not embraced the "cloud" because of this very problem. I travel a lot. What happens when there's a lapse in network reception? What happens if there is no internet?
I experienced this on a trip to Africa not too long ago, we had the net but it was running about 2400 baud. People in our group who wanted to log into Apple to retrieve their mail were stuck with the spinning ball. Thier "Norm violation" was, they thought they were supposed to be able to get their email. Apple's violation was a) not providing and ascii alternative interface, and b) loading up their site with so much gratuitous visual junk and pollution, the pages run upwards over a half-meg. I, on other hand, had an email provider that uses an ascii text interface. I got in and retrieved email and got out. Not fast, mind you, but very well just the same.
As I've preached for years and years, every designer, marketer or PR professional has to be acutely aware of what their intended audience wants, likes, dislikes -- and expectations. This includes all kinds of annoyances. Not just failure to deliver expectations, but many other means of stepping on people's toes. Understanding your audience and then carefully presenting yourself with writen, spoken and visual 'truth' can be your most powerful tool in communications.
You Are Annoying Your Customers. Do You Know Why? by Gavin Jocious
The 15 most annoying things about iPhones by Michael Hogan, The Telegraph
8 Ways to Make Facebook Less Annoying by Andrew Hayward PC Annoyances, Second Edition by Steve Bass
Internet Annoyances: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things about Going Online by Preston Gralla
Thanks for reading
The original copy of this post is located at http://www.graphic-design.com/60-seconds/336_irritating.html