On the roots of ownership in software design

Hear me out. I’ll set some context to the story so it won’t blast from out of the blue. Year 2022.

I came home from swimming with my children in a place nearby which is really dear to us. Had fun! I was in a particularly good mood and really crunching it. So I decided that since I have about half an hour I can clean my inbox. I have a tendency of filling my inbox with pretty many notifications from Digital Services that I use.

One of those services in this particular case is Uber.

I wanted to unsubscribe from the notification mails that Uber sends me. Boy was that a trip to take.

Mailing list have nowadays a unsubscription button, or “manage mail notifications settings”. The idea is superb. You don’t have to listen to messaging that no longer interests you.

Fast forward 20 minutes: I was not able to unsubscribe from Uber notifications.

I was stuck. I could not change the subscriptions. Found them nowhere.

I could not but help think that there’s something really mysterious with big corporations often. They for some reason manage to make the seemingly simple beef really complex. Like managing settings. Same with Sony Playstation PSN in web. Horrible UX. People lose probably tens of thousands of hours every day in futile and completely avoidable fuss. I have honestly once spent over 1.5 hours setting up a gaming account for my kids on PSN. I think I am not the only one. It actually took both me and my spouse to figure things out.

What perhaps irks me really much is that often the main product is great, but the side dish sucks – which does make also lot of the overall feeling of a service.

Zen out the side dishes. Keep polling real users. Help out the troubled ones. Keep polishing details. We can do better. 😎

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