For some time now I’ve been frustrated by Ovi Mail’s petulant refusal to hold on to cookies for me, or recognize my Ovi portal login. Persistent login is a standard web feature we have come to naturally expect, even if there is a deadline attached (such as eBay’s 1-day limit), and shared user state across a portal is to be taken for granted. After all, that’s part of the Ovi promise: single sign-on to a multitude of useful services.
So I was pleasantly surprised to see last week that returning to Ovi’s email service after a day away did not require a new login, and similarly logging into the portal on a different computer provided seamless entry to the email service. Hallelujah!
Now it may seem I am making a huge production and wasting blog space on something insignificant, and cynics will rightly retort that this sort of thing should have been working from day one. No argument. But I exult today because it appears a fundamental principle of providing a delightful user experience has finally sunk in:
Little things mean a lot.
It is precisely the tiniest aspects of any endeavor that are ignored from day to day but stand out like a hairy elephant when they fail to function. But in my experience they are often the parts left at the bottom of the to-do stack, as larger needs suck up available time and resources.
In past employment I ran into this as I managed an enterprise change review and incorporation process. During the board meetings participants would go over new change requests and prioritize them on a variety of criteria, mostly boiling down to typically expected “bang for the buck” or customer demand. The small stuff went to the bottom of the pile.
And stayed there.
As new changes came in, extant changes were reprioritized but inevitably those seemingly insignificant orders never moved– there were always bigger needs to tackle.
Frustrated by the lack of progress on these, and tired of complaints from the change owners, I implemented a slight policy change: Monday through Thursday would be spent on the high priority items. Unless otherwise instructed, Friday would be spent pulling from the bottom of the pile.
This strategy worked beautifully. The change incorporators loved it because it brought their completion numbers up easily, and made Fridays a breeze. Change originators loved it because their old moldy requests finally saw the light of day. Customers accepted it because we were doing our job.
Maybe the Ovi gang has discovered the simple beauty of such an approach. Or maybe they finally cleared off enough of the showstoppers that it was easier to target the tiny ones. I’m just glad to see progress made on this front, and hope it is an indication that Nokia’s Ovi is coming unstuck.