Digital technology has the potential to remove stress and suffering from our lives, and it can happen using well-designed digital solutions. But we can set the bar higher, with a goal to actually improve the well-being or even happiness of our customers. As an architect, I believe that we can lay the foundation for digital happiness with a digital platform based on a solid architecture focusing on happiness — a happitecture!
In their book “Positive Computing”, Rafael Calvo and Dorian Peters investigate the design and development of technology to support psychological well-being, and human potential. They explain that technologists’ growing interest in social good is part of a larger public concern about how our digital experience affects our emotions and our quality of life, and examine specific well-being factors, including positive emotions, self-awareness, mindfulness, empathy, and compassion, and explore how technology can support these factors.
I belive we should make the effort to take our digital solutions to the next level. When we are working with design and implementation, just taking a moment and ask “how can we blow the user away with pure delight?” could make a huge difference. As an architect that also take pride in being a developer (because as technology moves so fast, there is no way to understand and take relevant decisions if you don’t code), I’m an artist, and I want my masterpiece (the digital solution) to amaze the users. I want to make them smile, and ultimately make their lives better. There is so much we miss if we only following business requirements, and I urge everyone creating digital solutions to pursue this higher goal.
My experience is that well-designed digital architecture can enable the touch points (webs, apps, bots, connected things, etc) to move faster than the back-end systems can change. It includes generic omnichannel services that provide the core functionality, which get the data from the back-end systems transformed into a master data model. They are the foundation on which the specific services for each touch point is built, and all services are supported by common capabilities for security, administration, and automation. So when back-end systems lack a specific capability, this setup allows us to create temporary solutions that satisfy the customer need (for happiness), and with careful consideration of service interface design, the temporary solution can later be replaced when the back-end systems catch up. This means no more “no” from IT, but instead that the channels can move on fast. An interesting detail is that the common services can have built-in support for important attributes of a beautiful solution that contribute to digital happiness, like privacy and transparency.
Many of my fellow architects share similar experiences, and that is why we agreed on the following general principle:
Our highest priority is to ensure the digital happiness of
the customer by creating beautiful solutions, being
transparent, and respecting customer values.
It’s something we strongly support and promote, and therefore it has been included as the first principle in our Architecture Manifesto.