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Effectiveness, Efficiency and the Need for Speed

Guest Author: Chris Franco.

As a child, I was always bothered by the long boot-up and loading times that my desktop would grind through each morning when I was desperate to fit in a quick session of my favourite game before heading off to primary school. So with the aim of having as much game time as possible I started to learn obscure tricks and keyboard shortcuts to claw back an extra minute or two of playing time. Over those early years I found myself constantly frustrated with the limitations of technology that often restricted my ability to get what I wanted, when I wanted it.

Then came my eleventh birthday and I received a top of the range computer where the loading times were minimal and I found that I could no longer tie the computer up in a state of buffering. My effectiveness to use keyboard shortcuts to navigate couldn’t outpace the machine, so naturally, I kept training myself to become faster and faster until I reached the point where my fingers would occasionally miss-press keys so I undid my good work and I’d be left frustrated, wondering where I’d made the mistake with my key presses!

Moving forward a decade I find myself at Fenwick for a six month’s industry based learning semester as part of my Swinburne course, and once again I am harnessing the power of keyboard shortcuts but this time within Microsoft Dynamics NAV to navigate from one screen to another. When I first started using NAV I found the amount of shortcuts available to be staggering, with just about every sort of action being able to be replicated through the keyboard. Seeing my fellow consultants type away as if their life depended on it led me to challenge myself to regain my childhood shortcut habits.

Then I took a step back from concentrating on mastering the NAV keyboard shortcuts and I realised that now that the equipment is so fast, I no longer have the problem that I faced as a child, a better balance for me is to spend my time learning more about the functionality of NAV. I guess this is something to do with the balance between effectiveness and efficiency. This is the same balance that we hope to pass on to the users of NAV – being able to move around NAV really quickly has its benefits, but understanding and being able to use the vast array of functionality is more important.

I am still fighting to break my old need for speed.

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