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Designing for simplicity

The other day I bought some groceries at Sainsbury and I forgot to give the Nectar Card for accumulating the reward points. I must admit though most of the time the staffs do ask whether I have a Nectar card before the billing is done. I said to myself that I have lost the reward points. While the counter staff could not address my forgetfulness, there was a way out. Another counter was there to address this specific problem. They scanned my Nectar card and entered the bill number and credited me with the points. It was simple and straight forward.

I recollected my experience with iMint card and a similar solution was not instituted. Designing customer or public processes require a lot imagination and ultimately it is deep understand how customers behave that leads to rich and if I may use the word lovable processes.

The process for getting the pension in the Indian context requires the widow to produce a life certificate to prove that she is indeed alive. It is depending on the place and system every three months or every six months a form is needed to be provided. If per chance you missed a form but you came in person and said that you now wanted to claim the pension there are instances the department ended up asking for the life certificate for the earlier period as well. The logic that you are there in person for this period does not cut ice!

Likewise there is a requirement to submit the both the onward and the return boarding pass to process the travel claim made. If by chance you have lost the onward boarding pass but have submitted the return one, there have been instances where the person in charge has been known to ask in writing that one has lost the board pass and indeed the onward travel has been performed. I was wondering how it is possible to return from abroad without going there in the first place. Maybe there is a galactic wormhole that I am not aware of.

Joseph Heller’s Catch -22 is one classic example of a design gone wrong. Nature is one place designs are simple, leads to lowest entropy and self-sustaining. I hope to dwell on that some time later. Some related thoughts here.



One thought on “Designing for simplicity

  1. As the Red Queen said, “The rule is jam yesterday and jam tomorrow, but no jam today”. That is a great example of designing for simplicity.

    Posted by G Krishnamurthy | September 4, 2012, 10:12 am

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