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Over the last 18 months I’ve come to use Starbucks more and more – so much so that it’s now a bit of an in-house joke with some of my colleagues as to where I will be located at any point in the day 🙂

Whilst always wanting to support local retailers I’m neither pro or against multi-national/global organisations – as a consumer I choose based on experience. And the Starbucks experience for me (and others) is consistently good – for someone who has a lot of meetings in London, Starbucks consistently supplies great coffee, power for my laptop, wi-fi access via T-Mobile and toilets (required if you drink a lot of coffee).

I have been amazed at the consitency that Starbucks manages to achieve in environment, service and quality regardless of where you go in the world. So, on an airport stop-over a while back I bought a book called “The Starbucks Experience – 5 principles for turning Ordinary into Extraordinary”, but I only just got round to reading whilst on holiday. I’d recommend it as essential reading – apart from a couple of over the top customer service stories the book provides a really interesting insight into the Starbucks business, without coming across as a self-promotional piece (the book actually wasn’t written by Starbucks).

One part of the book really resonated with me – the principle that “Everything Matters”. Before now I always thought that Macromedia had it spot on with “Experience Matters” (a tagline no longer used at Adobe), but this goes one step further and says it’s not just the experience that matters, but everything that happens before and after the experience and everything that went into making the experience happen (i.e. behind the scenes).  

A great quote from the book: “The moment you think something doesn’t matter… be ready to start bailing”. This is so true – just think about the impact on the overall experience when just one thing goes wrong (for example, I always hate it when you’ve had a good meal out and then are just left waiting endlessly for the bill).

I was thinking about all of this when I read Ryan Stewart’s blog post “We should never settle for web interfaces that are ‘good enough’“. In the context of everything matters we should not accept or deliver web interfaces that are ‘good enough’ – in fact, every part of the service or application (finding the service, interacting with it, getting help/support, receiving goods/services) should matter equally if it is to be successful and gain a loyal customer base.

But ‘good enough’ is not just an issue for web interfaces; the launch of Vista raises the bar in terms of user interface design for desktop applications and thus ISVs too need to think about the design, implementation and quality of their application user interfaces.

There is a growing divide between standard browser experiences and the new generation of RIAs and Smart Client applications (using rich technology like Flash, Flex, WPF, WPF/E) – I’d certainly bet my money on the success of online brands, websites, software and services where the vendor doesn’t settle for just good enough and where they are subscribed to the principle that everything matters.

Posted by: Andrew Shorten



  1. Hey Andrew; enjoy tracking your blog here. Trust you are well !

    I note that you say that we’re (disclosure to readers; Practice Leader at Adobe Consulting for Rich Internet Applications and LiveCycle) not focussed on “Experience Matters”….that’s a bit harsh, I guess it’s more that we were saying that back in 2002 and that it’s in our DNA, it’s in our products, it’s in each and every one of our customer engagements.

    I also agree with you about “Everything Matters” rather than “Experience Matters”, in fact your blog entry coincides nicely with a press release we put out today around the importance of customer engagement, and research that we’ve sponsored with the Economist.

    You can see the press release here:

    In summary, “Adobe Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ: ADBE) and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) today announced the results of a global survey that identified customer engagement – establishing a deep connection with the customer that endures over time – as an increasingly important business mandate”.

    We have a special microsite around customer engagement that you can find this and other research (including our older research around the importance of customer experience and the ROI of Rich Internet Applications – a paper I’m sure you recall from several years ago). The microsite is here:

    Really enjoying following your blog; hope you don’t mind a little counter-perspective 😉

    Engagement matters…

  2. Hi Steven,

    Nice to have you here as a reader. Always happy to have balancing views, especially when we are in agreement on the value of user experience!

    Just to clarify though… I didn’t say that Adobe were not focusing on experience or that experience matters is less important to Adobe, just that the tag line has been dropped; in favour of “Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information”. Always preferred the former myself 🙂

    I must remember though to get a MSFT press release over your way at some point; just for the purposes of balance 😉 Seriously though, I look forward to checking out the research – it’s an important area and I think we all benefit from this type of information.

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