Insight from a Board Member: Great User Experience

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Insight from a Board Member

Time is a perishable commodity. Once a moment has passed it is gone forever and irretrievable. All you have left of the past is memory. And even memory itself fades and becomes less vivid.

However, cumulative memory affects our view of everything. If you have a good opinion of a friend, it is generally because you have accumulated good memories of that person over time. If you have a negative opinion of a place, it is because you generally have a negative memory (whether actual experience or a conversation you had) of it.

The same is true of our masjids and our communities. This reflects on our relationship with the message, Islam, and ultimately with Allah (swt). We, the trustees of these institutions, are in some ways ambassadors of the Message. It is imperative that we make sure our communities, the people who enter the masjid, attend the khutbas, participate in the programs – whether they be volunteers, attendees, or guests, have great memories when leaving.

Memories, good or bad, are the currency of a relationship. We can affect this memory through our focus on end user experience. After all, the Hadith, the Sunnah of the Prophetic (peace be upon him), are the recorded good memories his companions had of him. It is a critical component of our understanding of Islam. One need only to study his life to understand the positive memories and experiences he created and how that resulted in a magnetic draw to our first community.

Great user experience starts with good character, as exemplified by the Prophet (peace be upon him). It starts with being gentle. Great user experience continues with planning and execution. It means taking your responsibility seriously in regards to the details, but with calm and rational civil dialogue. It continues with creative programming, clean facilities, and great khateebs (communication skill+sound knowledge + relevance).

If you are a source of bad user experience, whether through poor planning or undeveloped interpersonal skills, you need to ask yourself whether you are suited for this type of work right now. One bad experience, or worse, several bad experiences with the masjid/community, can push individuals out of the religion permanently. The good news is, because memories fade, you can start now in creating new ones.

By creating great user experiences, and therefore great memories, one after the next, you will over time build a solid relationship with all aspects of your community. Again I’m writing in regards to community stewardship, but this concept of good memories can apply to all aspects of your life. Life is short. Make it count.

[Related: The Memory that Matters]

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