Let’s save the world from a thousand tiny moments of frustration.
There are so many opportunities to redesign everyday life experiences, from voting to scheduling your next doctor appointment effortlessly online. Rethinking online user experiences has been my bread and butter in the tech space. But there are so many everyday experiences that could create a positive impact on the 7.5 billion people living in this world by just by reframing the way those experiences are architected using existing technology.
1. Online Voting
I heard President Obama say in 2016 at an SXSW interview that one of his biggest frustrations being in office is that it’s still easier to order pizza online than it is to vote. Obama questioned what role technology can play in helping citizens vote. “We’re the only advanced democracy in the world that makes it harder for people to vote,” Obama said. “You’re laughing, but it’s sad.” Obama noted that it was “easier to order a pizza than vote. How do we redesign our systems so we don’t have 50% voter participation?” he asked. I emphatically say, let’s make online voting accessible using existing technology and security that’s available. STAT!
2. Scheduling Dr. Appointments
OpenTable functionality has existed since 1998, and has seated over 2 billion users at restaurants around the world. Why has the healthcare space not jumped on this bandwagon? Using the phone to schedule appointments is a similar experience to using payphones. There are limited SaaS offerings for SMBs to subscribe to that type of online calendaring functionality (think hair appointments made online). Nor has very many of the large health care companies created internal SaaS tools to allow their patients to effortlessly schedule doctor appointments online. I DID experience trying to use an online scheduling system through my local doctor. But the experience was so convoluted that my doctor even said: “Please don’t use the online scheduling because it automatically puts you as a new client.” It astounds me.
I live on a very dangerous 2-mile, 4-lane road that feels like it should be a freeway, but it’s not. And we have countless deaths on this road because of excessive speeding. My smartphone knows when I’m speeding when I have the Waze app running. So why can’t we redesign cars to have that annoying beeping noise kick-in when we start to speed? We can design it using the same system that car designers have created a “You Don’t Have Your Seatbelt On” beeping. It’s an easy fix that could save lives. That technology exists and is called Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA). The European Commission proposed in 2018 a new set of mandatory vehicle safety standards for all vehicles sold in the European Union. Intelligent Speed Assistance is one of the technologies that has been proposed to be fitted on all vehicles. ISA is expected to reduce collisions by 30% and deaths by 20% in the UK. Why can’t we do that in the US?
So the general gist for filing your taxes goes like this… One, fill out a bunch of really complex forms. Two, submit them and cross your fingers that you’ve submitted them correctly. The doubt involved shouldn’t be necessary. All along the government has an idea of how much you owe or will be refunded already. Why can’t this process be turned on its head and have the US Government sent us a PROOF of the form already filled out as they see it online? The government has all of our tax information that has happened over the year (again, this is for the general public without complex financial gymnastics). Then we can log-in online, make any edits or comments, submit any change requests. And if those are approved, you’re done. It’s simple.
5. Auto-Renewals in your Kitchen
I always need milk, coffee, sugar, and most importantly, dog food. I’ve already pre-selected the brands and items that I like and always purchase. With so many food delivery vehicles available to us today, why not have these items automatically delivered to our home after a certain amount of time? Or, let’s take this one step further and include smart packaging capabilities to show when the product is almost out or show when the expire date has passed with a big dot that changed from GREEN to RED.
1. Find My Glasses – How many minutes do people spend looking for their glasses? Let’s optimize this experience and add a tracker.
2. Reduced Screen Time – Smartphone consumers spend over 4 hours per day on their phones and are potentially addicted to this engagement. How about adding a bit of Gamification and incentivizing us to win prizes/points for reducing screen time and using Mindfulness or Meditation apps? I’m confident that a brand like Starbucks would be happy to sponsor this experience and have users win coffee points.
3. Sneakers Expiration Dates – My phone knows how many steps I’ve taken in a day. So why can’t our sneakers be aware of this by indicating a START time and be smart enough to indicate when we’ve gone past the recommended amount of steps per shoes.