Jason Garbis December 07, 2009 10:58 pm

Good points John, although I'd take it one step further: it's not just that vendors miss out on the opportunity to migrate settings or make minor adjustments to program behavior (which very few products do)--it's the whole inflexible approach that most applications take. Time and time again I'm frustrated (and made less efficient) when I'm forced to change the way I work to match what the software expects, rather than the other way around. This is most apparent in the applications in which we spend the majority of our time -- which for me is Microsoft office. One answer may lie in the personalization approach that you mention, although I dread the prospect of productivity software actively fighting back, as it morphs its behavior while I'm trying to work. Another (I think better) approach would be to provide something like work process templates, which could constrain tasks in such a way as to allow (ironically) for more user freedom. For example, instead of Outlook being a collection of independent features, give me an easy way to connect email with tasks - let me automatically generate a reminder, which will ping me if I *don't* get a reply from the recipient within a given time period. How useful would that be??!!