I started writing this post about a week ago, and then I stopped because I wasn’t sure if it was a blog post or a journal entry. At the time I didn’t know if it was something that I wanted to share or even something that was in line with my experience theme of this site “Lis’ experiences in User Experience”. I thought that posting it might be a waste of your time.
But on my way home from my basketball game, this post came bouncing back into my head and it was something that I felt that I had to write, only if a few or only one other could relate. So, here goes.
As I started my career in development, as opposed to design, I tend to be a little green with some of the visual/industrial design terms. However, one that I do know is Balance. There are many different definitions of the term and several different types of balance that can be achieved with design. For the basis of this post I’ll use the simple definition: equilibrium. So a very, very rough example of balance in design would be if I have a square on the upper left side of the page, I would have a square on the upper right side. This would put the page view in equilibrium.
Another example of balance is one that happens outside of our field, in one of my most favorite places, the basketball court. One of the underlying themes of 3 on 3 basketball is to try to keep the players on the court balanced when your team has the ball. It’s a balance that is achieved by players moving, almost mathematically, through systems of cuts and picks. By moving quickly, yet keeping the players on the court balanced (one in the middle, one on the right, one on the left) the offense causes the defense to spread out, become tired, and get knocked off base. This gives the offense a much better chance of beating the defense to the hoop.
Over the past several months, actually probably the last year or so, my life has been completely out of balance. I have put so much of myself into the UX field, that it has almost consumed the other parts of me leaving me far from equilibrium. I have tried to keep up with as many posts, events, webinars, etc as possible, and have looked to expand and grow myself so much that I’ve started to lose myself. Even though I have a great amount of passion for what I do and for what it does for others, my UX information consumption level has been on overload too long, and I need to take some steps back in order to reach equilibrium. After all, great ideas, inspiration and even great design can not exist without some sense of balance right? Losing that balance puts everything out of whack.
So then what does this all mean? Basically, it means that I’m going to chill the hell out! But in relation to this post it means that I’m going to begin to balance my UX side with my non-UX side. I’m going to look to activities outside of our field, knowing that they will bring me closer to my center. The idea is once I am back in balance, I’ll be much more prone to open my mind to find creativity and inspiration. It’ll allow me to see the rhythm of life again, which I’ll undoubtably apply and connect to my work. This will enable me to be better at what I do, and will stretch the knoweldge that I already have into other realms of UX that I may not have thought of. Of course, I’ll still be keeping up to date and involved, but it’ll be on the things that I’m interested in learning more about, and I’ll count on my network to help me with the rest if needed. There are just so many other fields out there to learn from in order to be better in this one, and also in order to find self fulfillment in my life.
The irony of it all is how it took one of our design principles for me to begin to look outside of design, but I guess that just shows how our field really is all around us all the time. For me it is time to find more inspiration in the things that I enjoy that are outside of my profession. So, the simple point of this post, is one that some of you may have already realized, and some of you may not. But it is one that I want to share in hopes that it helps others in the way that it has helped me. The point, dear reader, is this: In life, as in design, it’s all about the balance. Find yours and you’ll live better, and probably design better too.