byalduet03-31-201009:11 AM - edited 03-31-201001:00 PM
Not too long ago most software had a little something extra coded which the right combination of keystrokes and mouse movements at the right time could bring the user of the software an unexpected surprise. These “Easter eggs” offered users a fun way to interact with their software and to demonstrate a mastery of an application.
Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing initiative and concerns about malware has ended the practice of including Easter eggs in business software, but it’s still important for users of software to have fun and feel a pride about mastering an application. A lot of software manufacturers tend to forget that users need to be engaged with their software, even upgrades tend to look and feel the same for fear of exciting users.
For many years I didn’t see any difference in the versions of MS Office that kept getting produced. Ever since Office 97, every other upgrade looked pretty much the same to me – I became apathetic towards Office – it was the same old boring software, then along came Office 2007. Of course, I still hate the ribbons in Office 2007, I never did “get used to them” as everyone claimed and after nearly a year of using them I’m still slower at finding items that I once knew, but at least I have some emotion towards Office 2007. I’m guessing that “dislike” wasn’t the emotion the Office design team was going for, but hey, it’s better than apathy.
If you’ve used any version of ACT! prior to ACT! 2010 then prepare to “not be apathetic” when you upgrade to ACT! 2010. You can really tell that the ACT! design team put this version of ACT! in the hands of users and made some very nice changes. From the new Dashboard component to the new Layout to the new Welcome page, and of course the Web info tabs, it’s like discovering a bunch of hidden gems inside of ACT!. Every day I end up finding a new way to use some feature in ACT! 2010. Using ACT! 2010 is actually fun and I can’t wait to show my coworkers some new way I’ve discovered to use ACT!. With ACT! 2010 it’s like they brought back the Easter egg, except I don’t have to figure out how to hit Control + Alt 7 while doing a headstand.