A mat­ter of time

Ju­lia Roberts ques­tions if we are giv­ing time the value it de­serves

net magazine - - CONTENTS - Ju­lia is a mar­ket­ing ex­ec­u­tive at Like Dig­i­tal. Among var­i­ous mar­ket­ing-based ac­tiv­i­ties, she is pas­sion­ate about en­abling cre­ative com­mu­ni­ca­tions in busi­ness and com­merce.

Ju­lia Roberts ques­tions if we are giv­ing time the value it de­serves

We have been trained to look at the world and our lives in terms of re­sources: the fi­nite and the in­fi­nite, scarcity and abun­dance. Sup­ply and de­mand is a pri­mary driver of mod­ern so­ci­ety. Yet one of the most valu­able re­sources is one many over­look: time.

This is not to say that we don’t think about time at all – as the say­ing goes, time is money. Es­pe­cially within the world of e-com­merce web de­sign and de­vel­op­ment, we go on and on about the con­sumer, lever­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy to cap­ture their time through new in­no­va­tions and ser­vices, push no­ti­fi­ca­tions and so­cial me­dia. And we also de­sign to save them time by re­mov­ing fric­tion in user jour­neys and ad­ding per­son­al­i­sa­tion and customisation el­e­ments to stream­line their ex­pe­ri­ence.

But this doesn’t mean that we are ac­tu­ally valu­ing time. It is still pri­mar­ily seen as trans­ac­tional, not mean­ing-filled, and def­i­nitely not given the merit of other lim­ited re­sources. How does this nar­row per­spec­tive limit us cre­atively? This line of ques­tion­ing is par­tic­u­lar in­trigu­ing when you shift per­spec­tives, tak­ing a step back to the cre­atives who shape these con­sumer jour­neys and cap­ture their time.

What’s be­ing done to en­sure that de­sign­ers’ and de­vel­op­ers’ user ex­pe­ri­ences with their pri­mary tools of the trade are be­ing em­pow­ered? Does our quest to save this lim­ited re­source called time reach into their worlds, and how much do we pay at­ten­tion to the time that de­sign­ers spend do­ing some­thing, out­side of the lens of the client or con­sumer? We tend to look at the time they spend on some­thing in terms of not their time, but the clients’ – and sub­se­quently the end-users’. While this makes per­fect sense from a busi­ness point of view, this per­spec­tive may end up lim­it­ing us in the long run.

So what kind of tech is en­abling these cre­atives to make the best use of their time – or, al­ter­na­tively, how is their time be­ing wasted and what is the rip­ple ef­fect this has on the prod­ucts they are cre­at­ing? How can we value and em­power them for the sake of their cre­ativ­ity and time, out­side of the trans­ac­tional re­sults?

An es­sen­tial part of the process is ac­tu­ally di­ag­nos­tic, ask­ing: are the pro­cesses be­ing used cre­at­ing value? How are we mea­sur­ing this value and what role does time play? Is it em­pow­er­ing our time or drain­ing it? It means tak­ing a step back, and find­ing a bal­ance be­tween func­tion­al­ity and pro­duc­tiv­ity, qual­ity and cre­ativ­ity.

If we want to get prac­ti­cal, think about some­thing as sim­ple as tech com­pat­i­bil­ity. For ex­am­ple, our de­sign­ers have his­tor­i­cally worked on Pho­to­shop, but tran­si­tion over to Sketch for var­i­ous projects. How­ever, mov­ing from one to the other isn’t as sim­ple as ex­port­ing a PSD from one plat­form to the other, and bar­ri­ers like these not only suck time but limit cre­ativ­ity.

Ad­di­tion­ally, we build most of our pre­sen­ta­tions in Key­note, yet when it comes to shar­ing them across of­fices or with var­i­ous clients we need to con­vert it to a Pow­erPoint, which of­ten messes with the for­mat­ting. Yes, maybe we should choose one tool and stick with it, but on the other hand it’s 2018: shouldn’t our tech­nol­ogy be more seam­less than this?

These are small, sim­ple ex­am­ples but how much time do they waste and, more im­por­tantly, what kind of lim­its do they place on our cre­ativ­ity? When we get con­strained by sim­ple things like this, it’s eas­ier to con­tinue fil­ter­ing cre­ativ­ity through a trans­ac­tional lens, which per­pet­u­ates the cy­cle.

Maybe as we start to think about time dif­fer­ently we will change the way that we utilise tech­nol­ogy to start em­bed­ding value, mean­ing and in­ten­tion­al­ity in a dif­fer­ent way. Time has as much worth as we are will­ing to give it.

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