Sometimes it would be easier to create an interface, give it to users and tell them that they’ll like it and they should use it. Sometimes it would be great to think of an idea that’s sure to help make your business more efficient and just create it and give it to your representatives to use without any input.

It’s too mad that’s not the way it works.

I’ve seen too many companies make the mistake of letting their executives create apps, programs, processes and procedures to help their line-level staff deal with day-to-day tasks without involving their staff members in the design process. What inevitably happens is that their staff doesn’t use the product or creates manual work-arounds for the process. This leads to two problems: the executives aren’t happy because their product is not being used and the line-staff isn’t happy because they are supposed to use something they don’t want to use.

So, what do we do about this problem?

The simple approach is to make sure you have buy-in from your line staff. Include them in the decisions about their business and really listen to their needs. Once you know what they’d like to see then include them in the design process as well. You’re not gaining anything by creating products that are difficult to use. Create focus groups and have them meet to let you know how to make an interface that will be useful. Above all else, make sure the end-user has a part in the process. We’re not all Steve Jobs; we don’t know what everyone will want.