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Functionality, Usability, Aesthetics: Design at atSpoke

Designers have much too much power. I would know — I’m a designer.

Specifically, I lead Product Design for atSpoke. I spend every day thinking about how to make a workplace service desk that’s approachable and intuitive for everyone, not just IT pros. And I say designers have too much power because we can make you happy or miserable, delighted or frustrated, one interaction at a time.

  • 😐 Tapping that button doesn’t do what you expect? Blame a product designer.
  • 😤 It takes 12 clicks to get to the information you need? Blame a product designer.
  • 😡 You’re miserable at your job because terrible workplace tools are sucking the life out of you? Blame a product designer.
  • 😇 You’re strangely buoyant after the CIO signed off on that new tool that lets you do twice the work in half the time? Thank a product designer!

More than aesthetics

Most design work is invisible. It’s a misconception that design is entirely about making software look pretty; most of what we do involves making our product understandable and accessible to users. What good is cutting-edge AI if nobody knows how to use it? Or modern ticketing features if nobody knows how to navigate to them?

Aesthetics are important, but only insofar as they reinforce the product’s functionality and usability. It doesn’t matter how good a product looks if it isn’t usable, and it doesn’t matter how usable a product is if it doesn’t do its job.

A well-designed product doesn’t leave you thinking, “Wow, this product is awesome.” It leaves you thinking, “Wow, I’m awesome.” That’s why we design atSpoke to make you feel like you have superpowers.

Design as process, not result

Design has been a core pillar of atSpoke since the beginning. The benefit of this isn’t that our product looks great or is easy-to-use (though it does, and it is); the value comes from the fact that design is woven into every part of the company, ensuring a relentless focus on delighting our users.

Part of atSpoke’s DNA is a desire to make our users’ lives better and easier. If we ever have to choose between user experience and designer/developer convenience, the user wins every time.

Design and the modern service desk

Enterprise software has long been the last frontier of good design. At large companies, the person buying the software often isn’t the person who has to use it, so enterprise tools could get away with being obtuse and frustrating to use.

Nobody should have to suffer just because their CIO let the wrong person take them to a steak dinner.

Thankfully, times have changed. Everyone’s gotten used to a higher standard of design, thanks to ubiquitous and well-designed products like Instagram, Pinterest, Slack, and Dropbox. Employees are also consumers, and have come to expect a better class of workplace tools. Companies know that they have to prioritize usability to maximize employee retention, so good design has become part of the enterprise software conversation.

That’s a great thing, not just for employees (yay for happy employees!) but also for companies (yay for more efficient, productive companies!).

And it’s a great thing for atSpoke, because our design and technology have been building in parallel from the start. We’ve been steadily creating a tool that’s inclusive, accessible, and approachable to members of any team in an organization, and that seamlessly integrates form and function, fusing our next-gen AI with a tailor-made interface.

Inclusive, accessible, and approachable

The service desk can’t be just for IT anymore. Employees on every team have questions they need answered and services they need to request. atSpoke is designed to be simple enough that anyone — even those without any service desk experience — can use it. And it’s been designed from the start to help distributed teams work more effectively, even before remote work became the new reality.

atSpoke integrates with every popular messaging platform — Slack, Microsoft Teams, email, and even text messaging — so you can file a request from wherever you already are. No need to learn a new tool!

atSpoke supports all kinds of teams, from HR and IT to Engineering, Finance, Security, and beyond. Whichever teams are in your organization will feel right at home in atSpoke.

atSpoke is designed from the ground up to feel familiar. If you’ve used any common messaging service — Slack, Teams, iMessage, WeChat, even email — you’ll know what to do.

Seamlessly integrating form and function

atSpoke’s interface was designed in parallel with its cutting-edge technology, so it doesn’t feel like modern AI bolted onto legacy software.

Being built from the ground up means that we’ve had the opportunity to rethink every aspect of the traditional ticketing system, from small things like the placement of buttons to big things like entire workflows and processes. The result is a platform that matches what orgs need right now, not 20 years ago, so they’re not stuck shoehorning their workflows into tools built for a different world.

Designing for the future

Design, like software, isn’t static — it’s constantly in-progress, building iteratively on itself to create things that are new and exciting.

For atSpoke in particular, the future of our product is particularly bright. We’re continuing to design new features that will speed up interactions, enable new workflows, and help agents and requesters alike work more effectively. We’re also constantly iterating on our previous work, reducing friction and smoothing out the bumps, so the product you use today will always be better than the product you used two weeks ago.

Why do design and usability matter? Because they’re about doing right by our users, and supporting users is always worthwhile. What’s the fun of building something amazing if it isn’t an amazing experience for the user?

Are you an existing atSpoke user?