Show notes

After returning from Intranätverk, an intranet conference recently held in Sweden, James shares some reflections. We also talk about user centered design for the digital workplace and how intranets are the “poorer brother” of the world of web. Has the world of intranets finally started to catch up?

(Listening time: 38 minutes)



Per: Hello and welcome to episode 48 of UX Podcast. You’re listening to me, Per Axbom.

James: And me James Royal-Lawson.

Per: And we’re doing this episode over Skype.

James: Yeah.

Per: This morning my bike, my motorbike wouldn’t start and I thought, “OK. I will just take the car,” and the garage door wouldn’t open. The tag – there was something wrong with the tag. So it has just been a crazy morning.

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James: I know. For me as well because we’re doing this about 40 minutes later than we booked or planned.

Per: Yeah.

James: And I was just about – I’ve got guests here so I can’t do – I can’t record it from a normal office, in the office.

Per: Yeah.

James: I was just about to go down and set everything up and I heard my neighbour talking to me, calling me. OK. It’s very unusual that the neighbour starts talking to me at 9 o’clock in the morning because we’re all so busy. We’re doing our morning routines and things.

Per: Yeah.

James: What he had done was he had waved – he tried to kind of wave a wasp away when he was getting into his car and he kind of did that with his hands that he had his house keys in. He managed to fling his house keys.

Per: No way.

James: Into my garden just after he has locked the car or before he got into his car – he locked his house but he now went to his car. So he had to come around and me and him, we’re going through my meadow of dandelions that’s outside of the house searching for his keys. So that delayed me by about 10 minutes as well. We found them.

Per: OK. Cool, good.

James: Bizarre morning though …

Per: Very weird morning.

James: Yeah.

Per: Let’s look back – before we start, we were talking about intranet today. But let’s look back at the event episodes we did for UX Lx. We got some feedback.

James: Yeah, we did a few episodes.

Per: And we got some feedback partly about the intro because we do a lot of episodes – I don’t know. How many did we do? Six or seven?

James: Seven because we did a pre-episode as well.

Per: Right. And you have to listen to the intro every time you listen and we do two a day and you have to listen to the intro over and over again and the feedback we got was that maybe we could shorten it.

James: Yeah, it’s about one minute, fifteen?

Per: Yeah, and we realized that probably is pretty long for any episode.

James: Probably, yeah. So we’re – I’ve chatted to Dan Pugh, or Dan Lo-Fi. He’s the guy who composed and created the theme tune for us. I’ve chatted with him and he says he’s going to do a 45-second version.

Per: Excellent.

James: Which I think is a good compromise.

Per: Yes.

James: We’re going to try. We’re going to iterate you see. We’re going to iterate and try.

Per: Yeah.

James: Yeah. But if you got any more feedback because I – we both like to know what you think of the event format. When we go to these events and do seven episodes, quick succession from the actual – than itself, do you like it? Is it good? Is it interesting? Is there another way maybe you would like us to do that kind of reporting from events? Would you like us to do more events? Would you like us to stop going to events?

Per: Are you organizing an event and want us to be there? Then give us a call.

James: Like it.

Per: Yeah.

James: Yeah. And we will happily come there and cover your event for you.

Per: Yeah.

James: So feedback is good.

Per: It is.

James: It allows us to iterate and improve.

Per: OK. Onwards to today’s topic.

James: Yeah, we’re interested to let everyone know it’s the 30th of May today. We’re very nearly at the end of May which means here in Sweden we’re rapidly approaching – well we’re in the crazy bit before the summer shutdown.

Per: It is. I realize today it’s eight days of school left for my kids, eight school days.

James: I’ve got more than that for mine. Yeah. Lucky me. But I’ve got …

Per: You would think but next week is two days off.

James: Yeah, and both of my kids have their birthdays before school finishes.

Per: Ah! Excellent! You have to organize all these parties.

James: Yeah, after you.

Per: Yeah. Oh my god. My birthday is coming up as well.

James: It is. I only know that because you share your birthday with my son.

Per: Exactly.

James: Yeah. In case people think I’m kind of super memory man and can remember everyone’s birthdays. I can remember two birthdays, maybe three if I include my wife. Anyhow, yeah. Last week, if it wasn’t enough, we’re going to Portugal for UX Lx. I went down to – I went across to Gothenburg for a conference called Intranätverk. How do you translate that Per?

Per: I guess you would – because it doesn’t use the A with the two dots over it so it’s …

James: It does in real. On the hash tag and things, he doesn’t.

Per: OK.

James: And by he …

Per: So it’s a word play. It either means intranet work or intranet pain.

James: Verk.. because we’re kind of like …

Per: Hey.

James: No, I’m thinking more of the industrial metal works. It’s like the …

James: So the intranet works as in the place, the factory where you sort out the internet. You smelt things. You make things, the birthplace of industrial products, that kind of thing. When we say he, we mean Kristian Norling who is the organizer of this conference.

Per: Right.

James: Both Per and I know.

Per: And I hear he did a really good job. I’ve heard a lot of people were really pleased with the conference.

James: It was a really good conference. It was really well-organized. I’m not going to talk too much about the performer itself of the conference but he split it up into two days, three actually because there was a workshop day. The first day was Swedish, Swedish speakers, the whole day of Swedish theme. Then the second day, introduction speakers or rather a mix of Swedish and English but everyone spoke English.

Per: Right.

James: Which mainly caused a Twitter flow on the second day. It was different because it pulled in interest from the internet community at large.

Per: Right. I really like that way of setting it up because in other events, I’ve seen where English speakers and Swedish speakers are mixed up and then you – well, it’s  unfair to the English speakers because they don’t really get what the other people are talking about.

James: No.

Per: And also you attract a lot more international – oh, the international crowd really for attending a full day in Sweden. It’s just really cool.

James: Yeah, you get a lot more attraction on the internet. Well on Twitter and other channels, people …


James: … easier to follow when you’ve got it all in one language for that day. So that’s why I went on to the English day and took a train really early in the morning to Gothenburg.

Per: Yeah. You were just there over the day.

James: I was. I actually missed my train.

Per: No way.

James: Yeah.

Per: You just told me.

James: No, because I’ve been using the Smart Alarm on my UP to wake me up. I know you have too and I really like it. But it just didn’t work. I set kind of one day, alarm just for that one day and I stupidly – because I had to be up for such a specific thing. I should have just sawed the UP and – oh, language. I should have just kind of used the proper alarm, a real alarm for that morning. So I had to rebook last minute.

Per: So the UP we’re talking about is the Jawbone UP armband that we both are using now to record steps and sleep as well.

James: Yeah.

Per: And as alarms then.

James: Yeah, as alarms. We do it – we’re probably going to do a show about that at some point, about quantified self. But anyway, I missed the train and I had to rebook. But I got there. I missed most – I missed all of Sharon O’Dea’s talk about the mobile digital workplace. But I got quite a good chance to talk to her and chat to her. I was reading all the tweets in the train so I got a good feeling with that. But what was really interesting because I’ve been to a few internet conferences and I’ve worked quite a lot over the years with intranet.

Per: I think the last time I talked at an intranet conference was like two or three years ago.

James: No way.

Per: So for me it has been a long time since I’ve actually been in that area and talking about it and really diving into it.

James: Yeah.

Per: I was looking through the slides because I wasn’t there. I was just looking through the slides yesterday. Kristian has been really good about putting them out and he’s putting out some videos of the talks as well.

James: They’re already out. Yeah, he has released them, I think.

Per: Yeah. And I realized that oh my god, nothing has changed. Same old problems. Who’s the owner of the intranet? Yeah, it’s the information department. They only care about shooting out information. They’re not communicating. People have a hard time finding things. They’re swearing over it, stuff like that.

James: Yeah.

Per: And I see all these examples that I’ve been seeing for so many years and I realize, “Well, why is nothing happening?”

James: I think it was a big difference with the Swedish and English there. You’re right. An awful lot of people, it’s still the same old story of intranet and I think a good way of describing this is that you’ve got – if you look at the internet, although the world of web and things we do with web browsers, we’ve got – on one end of the scale, we’ve got ecommerce and the ecommerce side of things, they’re the ones pushing the boundaries. They’re the ones that are doing all the research. They’re doing real – or the products and ecommerce side of things. They’re doing the research and looking at what’s happening. They’re testing. They’re iterating. They’re tweaking and they’re making money.

Then you’ve got the non-transactional services and sites where it all gets a bit more fussy about why we’re doing stuff and a bit more loose about whether we need to do certain things and we don’t test as much. You don’t research as much and have lower budgets and everything.

So they’re in the scale. We’ve got intranet for the poor younger brother and everything. They have least resources, least money. They do least research. They do least of everything and been stuck for several years behind everything else.

That gives you a feeling of what it’s like to work with intranet in many situations. It’s knowing there is a balance.

Per: They’re behind and there’s no incentive really. There’s no monetary incentive which is why they’re left behind of course.

James: Yeah, exactly. It’s like a non-transactional site on the internet. You’ve now got the direct monetary aspect of ecommerce. The joy there is that you see people put things in the baskets and check out and you see the cash coming in. With intranet it’s all derivatives. It’s all – you enable something to happen and become profitable or do their job.

Per: Yeah, people aren’t really measuring the outcomes of intranets.

James: No.

Per: They may be asking how happy they are with it and people may be, “Yeah. OK.” And that’s fine. That’s a fine answer for a lot of people but I mean it has so much potential to be so much more as a tool in people’s everyday work.

James: Yeah. I mean just looking whether people are finding a webpage or getting to a webpage on the internet. That doesn’t really tell you whether it has all been successful. This is the same theme the last – what has happened in the last year or so, year or two in the world of intranet. We’ve had a birth or talk now of the thing called the digital workplace. It kind of started the same time as we started talking about mobile and how do we deal with mobile for intranet. This is also a digital workplace. The bigger world outside of just your desk computer, integrating all services inside the company into one platform you could call it. You could call it the digital workplace.

Per: Right.

James: Because inside companies there are always multitude of systems. You’ve got time report systems. You’ve got room booking systems. You might have ordering systems, the stock systems, accounting systems, procurement systems, payroll and HR systems depending on what you’re working with. You might have a special system for the client information, customer service. I mean the list of types of systems is almost endless and all of these just sat in silos internally. So the digital workplace talks about how you can work with these as a whole and improve the user experience or the employee experience.

That you could say leads me into what was my biggest take-home from Intranätverk. People were talking about user-centred design. People were talking about listening to users.

Per: Oh my god, listening to users.

James: People were talking about research and researching thoroughly before embarking on an intranet project.

Per: So actually finding out what people would find it useful to have on the intranet.

James: What they need to do their jobs.

Per: That’s really wow.

James: But I mean I know. You’re mocking it a little bit now Per. And I’m actually joining in with you a little bit in mocking that but any of us otherwise who have intranet know how much of a revolution it must be now for this to start happening.

People are talking about conferences and talking about this and actually doing this in some situations. Stora Enso and IKEA were two of the people – two of the companies that did presentations. They’re doing this. They’ve learned and realized that it’s not just about building intranet page for your departments and pushing out the information that you think might be useful for everyone.

It’s about enabling people to do their jobs and they say also includes the social intranet side of stuff and allowing people to communicate, share ideas and so on because it helps people to be productive. It helps people do their jobs. A wonderful eye-opener and we’re quite excited that they’re getting there. I just hope that more companies will realize the value of this and allocate the correct amount of resources to this kind of work because I mean there was a – I had a Twitter conversation with Jonas Söderström, Jonas Blind Hen, who we interviewed just before Christmas …


James: … a lot of music in the background and he said – well, even though that now organizations know in principle that UX is important, what are the excuses? Why don’t they do it? Is it just not enough time now? So I replied. Well, I think it seems expensive and we have the same story with UX on the other side, on the internet side. It’s considered often expensive and time-consuming. It costs time and money.

Per: Right, and this is hard to measure.

James: Yeah, and it’s far, far too easy to plough on without doing it.

Per: And you’re not setting goals. You’re not setting goals for the intranet. You’re not setting …

James: Well, you are but sometimes …


Per: Yeah? What are the goals?

James: Sometimes it’s – I mean there might be things that you can find information easier or I’ve even had intranet goals where I used to – these things like to reduce the number of documents.

Per: Yeah, or something like you said before, like share information.

James: Yeah.

Per: But sharing information is not for everyone.

James: No.

Per: There are different people, different cultures within companies and I’m going to think …

James: Jobs.

Per: Yeah. And of course that’s where the UX comes in, that you have to really find out what are people doing everyday and what tools do they really need. But I find that people are rushing into the social intranet, sharing information, all that stuff, making it sound really cool. But it doesn’t always have to be. Intranet can be boring but still very useful as long as you can find information you really need when you start working with the stuff you work with.

James: Yeah, I mean it’s about being honest. All these projects we do whether it’s intranet or internet, a lot of them kind of – key things are down be honest to yourself and be honest to the project. What are people really doing? What do they really want? What does the organization really want? Can we honestly make this mesh together in a way that works?

I don’t think this is – this is like what you’ve said there about traditional intranet. There’s an awful lot of blah, blah, blah, putting your hands over your ears and not listening and ignoring and even if you do do some of the research. I mean Sharon O’Dea said about you could do – you do some research, maybe a workshop or something like this and then ignore it and write what you think and just say you did some research. That’s the kind of thing that does happen in many projects I think as well as intranet projects. You kind of listen and then ignore it and plough on doing what you wanted to, pretending you’ve done some research.

Per: Yeah, that happens a lot.

James: So yeah, but I think another issue, not only is often the case that intranet projects are considered to be technical projects. This is in part because of the much – when you get into enterprise organization, they’re the bigger organizations, the availability or the choice of system, because everyone wants a system and when looking at the pure internet side of things, then the choices or platforms are very limited.

Nowadays I think it’s like seven out of ten of large organizations are running SharePoint or it may be higher than that. It’s probably even eight out of ten. It’s a ridiculously high number of organizations, large organizations that are running SharePoint in some form. That’s almost always a thing that comes out in the IT department and it’s very rarely done with users’ needs in mind. It’s done with IT needs in mind and pushed out and there’s no choice because maybe the rest of their whole architecture is Microsoft-based so they put SharePoint in there too or they see that everyone else is running their intranet on SharePoint so that must be the thing you should do now.

Per: So what happens then is that people find workaround. They find workaround in the way that they use Messenger or stuff like that, just email.

James: That’s a really good point, Per. Another conversation I had was about Dropbox and just thinking about like well, SharePoint, it’s an awful product when it comes to usability. They clearly have made lots of improvements for this version 2013 and they have I think made something like over 100 user interface changes and improvements. But for any person who has been using the previous versions and gets upgraded, that’s an awful lot of learning.

Per: Yeah.

James: I don’t know. My wife has SharePoint at work and she can swear sometimes. When she’s using SharePoint, the worst of her language comes out, I can tell you. She hates it and I know very few people – do you know anyone who loves SharePoint?

Per: I’m thinking really hard because we had SharePoint at Xcelent before as well. We were really trying hard to make something out of it and we couldn’t and there were lots of smart people working there. We were trying to integrate it with the Yammer. We couldn’t even do that.

James: That’s easy now because they actually bough Yammer.

Per: Oh, yeah, exactly. Right now that should be.

James: Well, it’s getting easier. It’s getting easier but it’s still a parallel product. If you ask normal workers who have to use SharePoint, it is very, very few. I think it’s a dream product.

Per: OK. And then you ask …


Per: … if SharePoint is useful. A lot of people get their work done and they don’t really care that people are swearing over it because they’re getting the work done. But they’re not reflecting over how much better work they could do if they were smiling all day long.

James: You will also get things like – going back to what we said about workarounds. People are like water. They will find the way out. They will find the ways to do stuff and one of the conversations we had was about how people are taking the documents that are officially stored in SharePoint because that’s where they have to be but to make them accessible by their mobiles and other laptops and things. They’re putting them in Dropbox.

Per: Right.

James: And they’re finding ways to get them to Dropbox and it doesn’t matter what your IT department does. It doesn’t matter how much they block it. There are always ways to get these …

Per: Yeah, I worked as a consultant at a big company, no names here, where they introduced a new document management system. I mean they put millions and millions and millions of money into this. Insane. And it was just too slow to work with. So what happened was people came to meetings with USB sticks and they were walking around giving each other USB sticks because that was the best way to share information.

James: Or you email the document to another email account.

Per: Right.

James: Yeah, everyone does all this and it’s what I’m saying about being honest. I mean you’ve got IT and security and compliance and everything and you’ve got these big vendors like SharePoint or so on and what it boils down to, they’re not really doing so for the users.

Per: And there are so many stories like this and it all comes really down to ethnography. I mean if you could just work – be around a workplace like that for a couple of days or a week or so, you would know what the problems are and how people actually do work and you have so much information about what type of intranet you really should be doing.

James: And that’s exactly what Stora Enso and IKEA and some of the other speakers on the second day of the Intranätverk said. Listen to users because you get so much good info and good ideas and you know what they want.

Per: Yeah. And again, a word of advice there as well. I mean it’s not always all about listening to what they’re saying but listening to what they’re meaning.

James: Exactly. It’s talking to them and then recording and interpreting what they’re saying.

Per: OK.

James: And balancing this with business needs because you still got to find the balance there. But no, fantastic that we’re making this kind of progress now. I just hope this – we get a bit more diversity as far as products go for intranet or people don’t get just lost in SharePoint. We’re seeing people are integrating with different products now or using SharePoint for one function and then bringing another product in for maybe social side and oh, there’s one – I’ve got one thing I’ll see if I can dig it out…

One excellent thing that IKEA, they talked about guerrilla research because it’s fantastic. See if I can find what I wrote here about this. I can’t find it quick enough. Now, guerrilla research, what IKEA did, they sent out – well, someone with a camera to a few different IKEA locations around the world. I think there was one in China, one in Sweden. There was one somewhere else and they asked them. Oh, what’s your dream digital workplace? What do you want from a digital workplace? They ask normal workers.

Per: Yeah.

James: And they were doing this …

Per: I’m sort of getting goose bumps here. I’m realizing that if there’s anything you listeners should be doing or both of us as well, if there’s anything we should be doing in our projects, it’s to go out and talking to people and using the camera and showing that around. It’s the best way to communicate.

James: Go and look at the IKEA talk from Intranätverk. I will put the link up to it because Kristian has published it and if you just watch one bit of it, skip to the bit where they show the film. So what they did is they edited all these little clips from when they asked these questions to normal people and put it into – I said normal people, just workers. They put it into a three-minute video as part of the pre-project work and buy-in process for the project.

This three-minute video is excellent. It tells you like it is. Now people say things like, “Oh, well I just want to be able to write an update and do it.” They say this simply as they want it to be. But they don’t say, “I want SharePoint. I want to be able to do massive technical specifications of everything.” They just say things really simply and straightforward and that’s how they – oh, this is my job. This is what I want to do and I think it should be like that.

I was just sat there watching that. Thinking, oh wonderful. User research, going out to talk to people, filming it, sharing it with us to help plan the project but also help educate others about what people think out there and communicate some of the aspirations and desires and needs of the workforce.

They sound like they’re on a – it’s going to take – they’ve also been sensible enough to realize that to move IKEA to a fully modern digital workplace, it’s going to take a long time because it’s not just systems. It’s cultural.

Per: Exactly.

James: Change management is a crucial part of all this work and that’s – it’s always true with these internet projects. You’re dealing with people’s workplaces and how they’re doing their jobs. It’s not just throwing out. It’s not just launching a new design start page. You’re changing people’s worlds.

Per: Right.

James: They sat there three hours a day often …

Per: You’re changing their world but you have to be changing them in a way that oh, I’m using something like that already but this is much better if I use the intranet version of it.

James: Yeah.

Per: And you were also mentioning some stuff about replacing tools like – we have SharePoint but for other purposes, we’re using other tools. I know I saw a slide from Oscar Berg. He had the traditional tools and he just replaced them with Dropbox and Yammer and whatever.

James: Yeah.

Per: And realizing that you can just piece together a tool in a week now that would serve as your intranet but it’s made out of 20 tools that are available online right now.

James: Yeah, there have been a couple of good examples of Swedish councils that have done that kind of thing. Well, they’ve taken basically all open source stuff if possible, all that kind of off the shelf tool and spent their efforts and money just integrating these together in a way that works when they need to, allowing it to be more agile, more flexible, going forward.

Per: Yeah.

James: Because once you’ve implemented SharePoint, you’ve implemented SharePoint.

Per: Exactly.

James: That’s it and you’re going to be – many, many, many years before you leave that world, if ever.

Per: And thinking about that perhaps there are people out there that actually do like SharePoint and can use it in a good way. A point I really like to make about intranet is that it is a lot about finding information but some people are just better at finding information than others and sometimes it’s just better to have someone you can ask that can search for the information for you and you shouldn’t be afraid to implement systems like that. It shouldn’t be about everyone doing everything. It should be about the people that are best at something. Give them the tools to help others as well.

James: Yes, this is something – when I was last working with a social intranet – that’s one thing I preach a lot about is that people like asking people – you learn and you know. If Peter, you know Peter is pretty hot and pretty good on that tool or that process. You ask him. You go across. You walk across to his desk and you say, “Oh, remind me. Where is that document? What do I do with that?” And he tells you because he is the guy who knows that thing.

Why would I sit there at my desk 50 meters away and search for it? It’s much more efficient to ask him. Same as like you pick up the phone. You ring someone or you email them because you know where the source of information is because we’re social creatures.

Per: Right. And the intranet is not just the technical stuff. The intranet is the people.

James: Yeah, exactly. And the kind of searching for information, the Googling internally, that’s a fallback. That’s something you do when you’ve exhausted your social contacts, social channels. I found that quote from IKEA now as well.

Per: OK.

James: My collection of tweets. It’s from a Chinese IKEA worker. We’re talking about the digital workplace, the future vision of it. Everybody just logs in and puts some updates. It would be so much easier. That was it, you see. Wonderful.

Per: Yeah.

James: Yeah. Another bit of – it was Linda Tinnert from IKEA that was in the presentation. She said that showing awareness and understanding is the foundation to digital workplace success, which is a nice insight there. They realize that it’s the people. It’s about the people, stupid.

Per: Exactly. It’s a good realization. It’s a good step on the way but I mean stuff like that, what you were saying what the IKEA is doing, just going out and filming people and talking to real people. I think that’s what we have to realize we have to do next. We have the insights. We know it has to be user-centric. We talk about user-centric but we have to start doing it as well.

James: Yeah. I think because of the way that the world of the intranet is so – even those waking up now are making some progress and a lot of companies are showing how you can do mobile and digital workplace and do it well. We’re still years behind the internet and I think it’s going to hit like a car crash in a few years.

Per: Oh, yes.

James: Because we’re going to have such high expectations and we’re going to see how it’s working and how the internet itself has become much more mobile first or mobile only and people who are non-desk workers who were doing jobs in the field, are going to start to be living in a world where they can do absolutely everything via their mobile apart from their job.

Per: That’s a good quote actually. I like that.

James: And that’s when the car crash will hit because you’re just going to get such a huge amount of stress and frustration and I’m hoping a bit of tipping point. We will really see then that God, we’ve got to do this now. There’s so much money to be made from allowing people to work in a better world. You’re researching how they work.

Per: I can actually relate to that in the project I’m working in right now because there’s one woman who works – well, in a state-owned company, let’s say that, and so funny because we’re a project team and there are four people of us and three of us are consultants and she – her computer, she can’t install the stuff that people have to work with. We wanted to install Dropbox. That won’t work. Google Drive, that won’t work. Skype, that won’t work. So we can’t really communicate with her. We actually meet her and so it’s funny because the rest of us were just all over the place with all these tools and it’s making our lives so much easier.

James: Yeah.

Per: And she’s just not allowed to.

James: Yeah. No. Not an unusual story.

Per: Yeah.

James: But it’s kind of nice that you’re forced to meet her.

Per: Yeah, of course.

James: If it works.

Per: We sit all day working in a small conference room nowadays.

James: Yeah.

Per: Kind of fun as well.

James: But this whole thing about.. Jonas Söderström was saying as well, that there’s a lot of talk about digital workplaces and there’s a lot of focus at the moment about how we can enable – or you do the opposite of your who and enable people to telecommute and work from Starbucks or from home or from anywhere they like. But we’ve got to remember as well that that’s just a proportion of our economy.

Per: Yeah.

James: It might be a very important part of it. It might even be the driving engine for the economist, these desk workers, digital workers. But you still got an awful lot of people out there who are doing field work and managing forests or doing care work or working in stores, shops and things where they have all got mobiles in their pockets and it’s going to be – we’re going to have to have a revolution in a few years.

Per: Yes.

James: I’ve got one more little insight here. When we had our kitchen done, I might have mentioned – did I mention this one to you?

Per: I think so.

James: About the workers that came and they did the building work here and just that fact, that they all had iPads and telephones.

Per: Oh, yeah.

James: They were reading content and doing – they were – during their breaks. They sat there discussing news articles and reading news articles and things on their iPads and it was fascinating to come in and see this. Like three builders sat in my living room all with their iPads and iPhones discussing content, discussing sports and stuff. A few years ago, they would have only sat there with tabloid papers, you know paper papers, reading yesterday’s news.

Per: Yeah. I remember the carpenter who came in to build my kid’s loft beds. He took pictures of the beds after he built them and posted them online on his Facebook page. That was his marketing.

James: Yeah, one of the guys who did my kitchen and stuff did the same thing. He took a picture of one of the best features we have on the kitchen and he posted it and he uses it in his collection of photos or shows when he’s doing sales talks with people.

Per: Right.

James: This is probably very Swedish because there are some other countries where their builders and plumbers and so on don’t sit around looking at iPads or 3D connections. I mean I understand that it is a little bit more advanced in some markets but still it’s an insight into where we’re going and …

Per: I think so.

James: One of the things we heard from – I think it was Luke at UX Lx, Wroblewski. He talked about how in America certain demographics are, mobile is there only way to access in the internet. So they’re all out there. They’re working and they’re doing jobs and they have the mobile and the mobile is their internet, yet they’re not able to do their jobs.

Per: Right.

James: Because their jobs haven’t come that far.

Per: And then I just read the other day which was a study from Australia where they actually realized that the mobile internet usage has surpassed the desktop and the – well, not only desktop but – what do you call it? Laptop computers as well in the use of the internet. So more people are actually accessing the internet via mobile than regular computers now in Australia which is – that says something and it’s probably – they just haven’t done this study yet in a lot of countries but that tells you a lot about where we’re going and it’s just mobile in the future.

James: Yeah. But also we’re entering a bit now – we’re entering a phase now. I think we’re still drifting a little bit but we’re entering a phase now where we’ve got more device diversity than we ever had in the history of personal computing.

Per: Yeah.

James: We’ve got mobile phones that are everything from three inches to six inches now and then you’ve got tablets I got from basically six inches all the way up to – I think Sony to a 24-inch tablet which is madness and then you’ve got laptops which you can remove keyboards and they become tablets. You’ve got laptops that are everything from like 9, 10 inches up to 24 inches or something. You’ve got laptops themselves and you’ve got desktops and you’ve got iMacs or whatever with massive retina screens that are big as football pitches.

Per: I actually found the link yesterday. I will post that as well to – I think it’s called So Screen Sizes.

James: Yeah.

Per: And they posted a lot of these different sizes. It’s insane. We are drifting but I think the workforce – it’s all about understanding the workforce and I’m realizing that people have so much stuff. They have so many gadgets and they have better devices at home than they have at work which means that people are bringing their devices to work and expecting them to work better for them in their workplace as well.

James: Yeah, and that was one of the things I talked about at the conference bring your own device, that whole – well, bring your own device and also that convenience always wins. I said earlier that people are like water. They will find the way to trickle out and to do what they need to do to do their jobs even if your IT department doesn’t like it or your policies don’t like it.

Per: So either you understand them and help them or you just …

James: Keep on swimming against the stream and hope that you will get to the top of the mountain again. But this won’t happen. We’ve got to be honest. Wake up. Do some user research and listen to our workers. Help them do their jobs.

Per: I think that’s a good note to end on actually.

James: Yeah, I think so.

Per: Excellent. Thanks for listening. Remember to give us some feedback and remember to keep moving.

James: And see you on the other side.

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