The Startup Advantage - Details, Details, Details

2012-07-28 2 min read

    A frustration I’ve been experiencing more and more is having to reload a webpage in order to change the date range in the options. If a company expects me to keep a site open for more than a day they should make it easy for me to update the options. The big example is Google Analytics - I open up a page, choose a date range, and get to see my charts. If I keep the tab open and want to want to run the same analysis the next day, I’m forced to reload the page to even be able to include today in the date range. It’s an unnecessary action for the user and it would be easy to correct this behavior with some simple Javascript.

    Such small details don’t matter individually but together they reflect a lack of empathy for the user that impacts a company culture. We should always be striving to make a user’s experience better and doubly so whenever it’s actually an easy fix. Other easily fixable examples I’ve seen are clearing entire forms when there’s an error with one field and not highlighting the field that’s giving the error.

    I suspect the reason these aren’t fixed is a managerial problem. The application works and there’s no reason to go back when there are all sorts of new shiny things that can be built. No one wants to do a cost vs value analysis for these minor fixes so they stay the way they are. I suppose you need to either build things the right way immediately, fix it without letting anyone know, or resign to leaving it alone.

    There’s a reason startups tend to have better products. They don’t go through analyses to determine whether to make minor changes, all it takes is for someone to decide that something needs to be fixed and the next deployment, probably within a few hours, will have it solved. Combined with the massive sense of ownership that comes with working at a startup, that’s a lot of improvements that would be done at a startup but not a larger company.