Intuit is the company that took on Microsoft - in personal finance software - and won. The maker of Quicken is renowned for its quality of user interface design and marketing nous. In an exclusive interview, chairman Scott Cook told PCDN about his rivals, usability testing and his hopes for online financial services
Who are your users?
The thing people don't realise is that almost half of our users are business. The majority of small businesses, they're not accountants; these are people who think general ledger was a World War 2 hero. They're the target for QuickBooks and that's the reason it's succeeded so well - it doesn't use accounting jargon.
You talk a lot about usability but haven't other vendors caught up by implementing lab testing?
We were the first; we did usability testing in 1984, five years before anyone else. It's become trendy to talk about but there's a very big difference between doing it and having marketing people doing it as part of their culture, how they run their design. Most engineering departments are like 'Oh, those marketing people!'. So there's a very big difference between doing it and having it be the core of what engineers focus on.
What about Microsoft?
They'd be the one who has done the best job but Money is still not that good. The new Quicken is a lot easier to use than the new Money. Money isn't a bad product but it hasn't kept pace.