“If you remember the shape of your spoon at lunch, it has to be the wrong shape. The spoon and the letter are tools; one to take food from the bowl, the other to take information off the page … When it is a good design, the reader has to feel comfortable because the letter is both banal and beautiful.” — Adrian Frutiger, typeface designer
Do you remember the last time you reset your password? Probably not, right? For some processes, being unmemorable is a sign of good design. Password reset isn't a feature you want to remember, because if it is, it was probably painful.
With a project as big as Portal, it's not surprising that sometimes we find areas that aren't very easy to use anymore. With an ever-expanding list of features, it's easy to get distracted by making new and shiny things and forget about the older, more simple features. But eventually, the boring, fundamental things will make themselves known, whether we like it or not.
At Equiem, it's easy for us to get a sense of what's going wrong or needs updating/maintaining by just being around people in head office. Our product engineering team is based in the same office as our content managers and strategists, our store management team, our client services representatives, our operations team and our support team, so we get a lot of feedback from just being physically here.
This is awesome, but it’s also a trap for young players: everyone in head office, despite our diversity, is technically a power user, and that means that we often fail to see usability issues at the less sophisticated end of the spectrum - things that are perhaps boring, but often extremely fundamental to the usability of the product. Basically, we're at a point where we can't remember what it's like to not be a power user, and that’s dangerous.
It's no surprise then that our product support team are often sitting on a goldmine of usability issues that we just can't casually stumble across anymore.
The two way relationship between product and support is invaluable. Support needs to know about the new shiny things we’re building, and product needs to know about the bits our users are struggling with.
But getting that relationship right - who needs to know what, and how much about that thing - is tricky. And in a lot of ways, UX sits in between support and engineering, and can help make things better.
We were hearing that some of our users were reporting the password reset process as broken. So when we first tried to solve this problem, we came at it as if there was a bug in the code. Reports would come in, we'd test it, confirm that it wasn't buggy, and move on.
Eventually it became clear that something was up. We were verifying it wasn’t buggy, but complaints still kept rolling in. We decided to watch a user try to reset their password and do a benchmarking usability test. It became clear that this wasn't a buggy code issue - this was definitely a usability issue. Knowing that, it was clear that the work to be done was UX design work, not bug fixing in the codebase.
So we started from scratch and printed off every screen that was involved in resetting your password - and we scrutinised them. Are these words right? Is this bit confusing? Is the flow correct? Can someone with no knowledge of the system understand it? Does the user feel good afterwards?
We started with a “back to basics” approach for understanding what our users needs were in this misleadingly simple process. And what we found was that our process was violating some key usability heuristics, specifically:
This might seem like overkill for such a small thing that is present in almost every online system. In fact, this functionality comes built in by default in Drupal - so it’s easy to ignore and leave it as is.
But password reset is a gate - if you can’t reset your password, you can’t get into the Portal. That’s important, because If someone else resets your password maliciously, they shouldn’t be able to log in to your account! This is a common tradeoff between security and usability - something we need to navigate carefully in an enterprise product.
But if you lose or forget your password and you can’t get back in easily, we’ve lost your trust. We’ve made it hard for you to use the product, and in a busy commercial office environment where our users all have other jobs to be doing, they’re not going to work very hard to solve that problem - they’re just going to leave forever.
Making our password reset process easy, fast and friendly took time, but it was worth it - password management in the office ecosystem is frustrating and difficult at the best of times.
With the help of some copywriting, some human illustrative elements and some performance polishing, we have been able to make something usable - perhaps even delightful. But most importantly, we’ve made something unmemorable - so good that you don’t even remember doing it.
“I don’t really understand what the point of that was…”
- A user testing the new password reset process
Thank you! Please check your email to confirm.
Something's not right - please try again.
An exploration of why building managers should be garnering data about their building community if they want to please their current (and attractive prospective) tenants: including what you could learn from this data, and how to capture it with innovative technology and communication strategies.
Exploring the evolution of co-working in the 21st century, and how Equiem can help enable co-working through online skillshare, networking and transforming empty rooms into truly collaborative co-working spaces in your building.
Salta Properties’ business precinct in Melbourne’s Mulgrave, Nexus Corporate, will offer property management platform Equiem to its tenants, making it the first ever business precinct in Australia to adopt the software.
Equiem, Australia’s pre-eminent provider of digital tenancy platforms for the office building sector, is significantly expanding its presence in the retail market following an agreement with QIC to install its tenant portal across QIC’s nine major retail centres.
Investa Office Management (‘Investa’) has partnered with Proptech specialist Equiem to deliver a tenant engagement program nationally, expanding its role as an office manager and paving the way for a more connected and convenient workplace for the thousands who work in Investa buildings.
We’re delighted to present the newest addition to Equiem’s family, Natalie Clark! As Senior Platform Performance Manager, Natalie ensures our customers are satisfied with their experience in their buildings, which suit their workplace environment along with offer a sense of community to improve work/life balance.
Equiem now has a 10-desk private office in the newly opened WeWork 5 Martin Place, one of the only two WeWork locations so far in Australia. WeWork, a “platform for creators”, provides beautiful, collaborative workspaces with a big focus on fostering an active community - making it a perfect new home for our Sydney team.
For Equiem, fostering a diverse environment was never about being a ‘good corporate citizen.’ It was about gathering together the brightest, best and most passionate regardless of gender, sexual orientation or nationality.
Having a vibrant, engaged community in your building is important, as engaged tenants are more likely to stay and recommend your building to others. Building a community, however, doesn’t happen overnight. Learn the fundamental steps to engaging tenants in our guide.
All around the globe, technology is becoming more than just a tool that connects people - it's adding new levels of convenience and amenity to people's lives. It's more than just a network - it's a service provider. The big companies are finally catching up to the idea that the…
In 2014 we published over 4000 news posts and 6000 event posts. We also sent out over 680 newsletters. If content is king, going from three Equiem Portals to 20 in less than a year truly ended up in an epic Game of Thrones-like bloody battle. But, as in all…
As a company, Equiem provides various services - we activate buildings with an expert team of content creators and editors; we source retailers and manage the Portal Store; we work with our clients to help them help us shape our product and use our services; we run around telling people…
Bringing health and wellness into the workplace At Equiem Engage, what drives us is enriching the lives of tenants, solving their problems; being useful. We treat it as a privilege to be able to engage directly with thousands of these hard-working people every day.