OSS – making men feel more masculine and in command

Image credit: YakobChukOlena

I’ve just finished reading Small Data, written by Martin Lindstrom, a fascinating book that espouses forensic analysis of the lives of users (i.e. small data) rather than using big data methods to identify market opportunities. I like the idea of applying both approaches to our OSS products. After all, we need to make them more intuitive, endearing and ultimately, effective.

“From watching ESPN, I’d learned about the power of information bombardment. ESPN strafes its viewers with an almost hysterical amount of data and details. Scrolling boxes. Panels. Bars. Graphics. Multi-angle camera perspectives. When exposed to a surfeit of data, men tend to feel more masculine and in command. Do most men bother to decipher these boxes, panels, bars and graphics? No – but that’s not really the point.”

This particular quote above from the book struck a chord. Our OSS GUIs (user interfaces) can tend towards the ESPN model can’t they? The following paraphrasing doesn’t seem completely at odds with most of the OSS that we interact with – “[the OSS] strafes its viewers with an almost hysterical amount of data and details.”

And if what Lindstrom says is an accurate psychological analysis, does it mean:

  1. The OSS GUIs we’re designing help make their developers “feel more masculine and in command” or
  2. Our OSS operators “feel more masculine and in command” or
  3. Both.

Intriguingly, does the feeling of being more masculine and in command actually help or hinder their effectiveness?

I find it fascinating that:

  1. Our OSS/BSS form a multi billion dollar industry;
  2. Our OSS/BSS are the beating heart of the telecoms industry, being wholly responsible for operationalising the network assets that so much capital is invested in;
  3. So little effort is invested in making the human to OSS interface far more effective than they  are today;
  4. I keep hearing operators bemoan the complexities and challenges of wrangling their OSS, yet only hear “more functionality” being mentioned by vendors, never “better usability”;

Maybe the last point comes from me being something of a rarity. Almost every one of the thousands of people I know in OSS either works for the vendor/supplier or the customer/operator. Conversely, I’ve represented both sides of the fence and often even sit in the middle acting as a conduit between buyers and sellers. Or am I just being a bit precious? Do you also spot the incongruence of point D on a regular basis?

Whether you’re buy-side or sell-side, would you love to make your OSS more effective? Let us know and we can discuss some of the optimisation techniques that might work for you.

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