Minds at work?


http://www.mindsatwork.com - cool or clunky?

Troy Ginbey, from Tune in Tokyo, and I have been having a debate about the Minds at Work website.

I kind of like the way they’ve tried to incorporate a sense of what they do and how they do it in the interface for their site.

Troy, while he appreciates the cleverness, thinks the interface is a bit clunky and not that intuitive to use.

His argument, basically, is: if you think about why people innovate in the first place, innovation is largely used to solve a long standing problem.

It’s fine for Minds at Work to create something new to prove they can innovate but, if they want to demonstrate they are good innovators, the challenge is to create a new way to navigate their website that would provide a better experience for the user, or solve a problem.

In other words: 8/10 for having an idea; 4/10 for implementation, testing and usability.

What do you think? Is their site gratuitous cleverness lacking in execution, or does it tell a story in an engaging new way (or both… or neither…)?

If anyone from Minds at Work stumbles across this article, comments are most welcome.

About Jonathan Smith

Turning strategy into reality
This entry was posted in Increasing revenue, Positioning for the future, Quality, Two-way communication. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Minds at work?

  1. jason says:

    Hi there Jonathan!

    It’s Jason Clarke from Minds at Work here. I thought I’d take you up on your invitation to respond (someone’s only just sent this to be now so this is just top-of-the-head stuff if that’s ok with you).

    I was interested in your observation of the clunkiness: it’s something that had us all a little worried when we talked with the designer.(OMG I think it was about 5 years ago now) Clearly, there were much more elegant pathways for the user to take and we’d experimented with a few that were just beautifully simple and direct. But we also wanted to users to experience the character of the work we do, which usually involves bumps and detours, surprises and last-minute revelations, which is why we went the way we did. It’s worth knowing that the audience we’re aiming at are people who already know something of us and who want to gain a little more familiarity with our approach before calling us up (I’ve never been convinced that a website was an effective billboard for generating interest but more like a Facebook intro for people who were sufficiently curious anyway) so we stopped worried about clunkiness in itself and starting worrying about what was the right amount of clunkiness to give the users we wanted an appropriate sense of play (without making an actual game!)

    I’ll be honest: we’ve had a few people complain that it wasn’t immediately clear what is going on. For all we know there may be millions who have given up in frustration, obviously, they’ve never called. But over the years we’ve had a surprising amount of feedback that suggests that the people we’ve designed the site for actually thought it was some kind of ‘puzzle’ and many, many say ‘it was annoying at first but then I felt really good when I got it into your way of thinking’ and this response held us back from reworking the site. That, and the level of conversation we have with new contacts is so much better if they’ve already ‘played’ with us… which most do.

    I’d also like to thank Troy for his comments, it’s something we talked about all those years ago. But I’d make the observation that the approach we took was not to demonstrate our ability to innovate but to give a sense of our nature and ethos, which is why the site itself is not an innovation. If we were designers of communications, I’d be completely in Troy’s corner – we’d have to provide an excellent example of our work. But you can see why we went the way we did.

    Hope this is been interesting, it’s been fun to read your comments. We’re working on a whole new site that I’d value your thoughts on. In the meantime, keep up the good work.


  2. Hi Jason – really glad you found this obscure post and chose to comment. I certainly will have a look at your new site. One thing we can both agree on, your site definitely has more ‘wow factor’ than this one 🙂

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