You go to your company intranet with the intention of finding out how to order a catered lunch for a meeting you’re putting together for your manager. Twenty minutes later you give up after fruitlessly trying to locate the homepage for the company mandated food service.
You need to update your surname in your company’s internal network because you just got married. After going into your personal profile page and making the switch you’re surprised to find that it doesn’t update your corporate security profile. Frustrated, you discover that there is no information on how to go about affecting that particular update.
You receive an automated email from Facilities that you need to take mandated site safety training. Four pdfs are attached with multiple instructions on how and where to take the training, some with conflicting instructions.
These are just a sampling of the myriad of small but necessary interactions now named microinteractions as coined by Dan Saffer, which employees and contractors at organizations have to negotiate every day. Inherent in this “death by a thousand paper cuts” pain point is a tremendous opportunity for in-house creative teams to partner with departments guilty of a lack of attention to detail when designing (or rather slapping together) employee interactions.
Identifying these opportunities is pretty easy since most likely, the previously mentioned in-house teams have to engage in these very interactions themselves. Ideally what could/should happen is that members of the in-house group faced with these dysfunctional microinteractions should escalate them to their team leads who could/should then approach the groups responsible for the interactions and partner with them to refine and improve the touchpoints.
Even better, the internal design team could become a mandated stakeholder partnering with all internal departments when they push out communications requiring microinteractions by vetting and designing those interactions.
Organization-wide it can be argued that dysfunctional microinteractions result in thousands of hours and dollars in lost productivity both during the failed interaction itself and the resulting frustration and distraction of said frustration. The application of simple and appropriate design practices can quickly address these broken interactions and expand the value that in-house designers bring to their organizations.