These days, there is a new must have gadget released practically every month. The new iPad (and yes, I bought one… make that two), the new phone, new computer, new television. But look at these devices. You never just plug it in and start using it. There is always the need to sync with this, merge with that, download those, buy these. And if you want to change the screen background, click ten times and maybe, just maybe you’ll get to where you wanted to be. But then the phone rings and you lost your place.

Gadgets keep getting harder to use and more complex. Granted, they do more. But seriously, I used to have a phone that I used to call my buddies to find out where to meet them before the Cubs game. Today, I can see on my phone where they are via GPS, text them to buy me dinner and even send a coupon for that restaurant via an image so I get $1.00 off. When did I go from having one computer to having four of them and my most powerful computer sitting in my pocket? Take a look at software. Have you tried using the new Microsoft Excel 2010? It has so many new features, I don’t know where to start. And you know what? I still use it to manage my firm’s financials with simple formulas like sum this, multiply that, chart these data points. The same stuff I used it for ten years ago.

At ASA, we are trying and I do mean trying, to keep things simple. It is a constant battle with the temptation to add new features, add a new button, add a new link or a cool gizmo. What makes the cut? What doesn’t? It comes down to what it will take to make our clients’ jobs easier. Our entire job, company, software and reason for being is to make our clients’ job running their organizations as easy as possible so they can do what they do best: teach, tutor, train, instruct. Not spending hours and hours learning how to use the software to handle registration or sending an email to their students.

So every day we juggle between the goals of simplifying a tool and adding to its capabilities. Some days we win. Other days I feel like we lose it. But overall, we seem to be making headway. It now takes only three clicks to buy a class, not five, ten or more. We added a new event module where you can sign up for a workshop, dinner or other event in one simple click. We just changed our pricing model so even my seven year old daughter gets it. We made signing up and getting started using our ASAP service easier with our Self Signup wizard and our improved support site.

We are determined to make registration management simpler – As Simple As Possible. We’ll keep trying and hopefully, we’ll keep ASAP from turning into those complex, hard to use gadgets that are irrelevant six months later.


PS: Got the idea for this commentary from this guy –