Thursday, June 10, 2010

Customization Ever Increasing

Customize? Or off-the-shelf? This is the forever-back-and-forth debate in all IT shops. It's been intrinsic for so long that by now it's just a ultrasonic buzz (like a dog whistle) we don't even recognize but it still gives us headaches.

From an enterprise perspective, off-the-shelf -- YES -- as much as possible! But from a user and usability perspective, off-the-shelf won't be adopted if it's not adaptable, so customize!

I think it's not an either\or question and Google is providing the ammunition for my argument this week. Recently Google announced a massive improvement to their search engine's back-end. They're calling the new search indexing "Caffeine." (I love that!) In addition, they're giving users the option to put their own, custom wallpaper on the Google search homepage. So this is a terrific example of enterprise off-the-shelf AND customizable.

You don't have to write the code for the whole darn app -- just make sure the app leaves space for customizing -- that's all! Most orgs want the ability to banish the software's logo and insert their own. How hard is that? Especially if they're paying customers! Most users want the ability to move and re-size and re-sort data. Also not hard. Just build flexible applications and the world will line up at your door.


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