Sometimes I just need to get away. I need to not read about anything work related or experience anything that makes me think… how could that have been better? I see some professionals that are entrenched in this work and I wonder why am I not like that? Why am I exhausted at the end of the day and not energized. I think “am I just not made for this?”The funny part is when I take time away, that’s when I get the best and most creative ideas. Not so different from what Scott Berkun describes in his book “The Myths of Innovation” which I always go back to. This book was enlightening for me in that it’s helped me reflect on my own career and realize that the exhaustion is my mind hitting a wall and I just need to step away and find another way around.
This post isn’t a plug for the book, although I would suggest reading it and keeping it close, but more of a personal revelation if you will. I’ve been on vacation for a week with my parents in town and have experienced some of the most beautiful parts of San Antonio, scenes which I know will influence in a positive light my work in the future. I look forward to exploring and discovering the new ideas that come to me and seeing where they go. And I understand that I too am entrenched in this work :).
PERSONAL ENDEAVOR RANDOM THOUGHTS
I wanna go! Saw this on Adaptive Path’s blog: http://www.dmi.org/dmi/html/education/seminars/sd.htm.
[techtags: USER EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE DESIGN, SUSTAINABILITY]
This weekend I had the pleasure of hosting a San Antonio Beer Club meetup at my house. For the occasion I went to my favorite bakery and asked if they could bake a pastry in the shape of a dog head for the event (since everyone was to bring their dog). They said all we had to do was bring in a drawing or photo and they could do it.
So on Saturday morning my friend and I went to pick up the pastry. We walked in and there it was sitting in a box on the counter. The woman working the counter saw us and went to get the other baker. As she went we heard her say “they’re here to pick it up!” with excitement. Turns out thet used twice the amount of dough that we had paid for, but weren’t going to make us pay for it (although we did anyway) since it was their decision to do it right.
I loved this experience! I walked out of that place feeling like I was walking on air. There are people in this world (probably many in fact) that do a job and do it their very very best. Without having to be paid or told, they took the liberty of creating a product that ended up being perfect. Sometimes, working in corporate america, I like to think that that type of experience, product creation will catch on. I like to pour that amount of passion into what I do and love to see when others take the same care. Here’s a photo of the cake:
[techtags: GREAT EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE DESIGN, BAKED GOODS]
It has been a great week for me because I’ve actually gotten time to read through all of my favorite blog posts. Today I was reading over this post by Alexa from Adaptive Path. It’s a very interesting article that talks about creating sustainable experiences that encourage users to do the right things, even though their tendency may be to do otherwise. I must admit that parts of me were torn. In some instances I totally agree with this like with her example of taking public transportation vs always driving. However, there is a part of me that thought, shouldn’t I create an experience based user requirements, wants, needs etc. For example let’s say I design cars, sure I think that people should help save on energy, but I want them to use my car as well AND I want to make sure that the car exceeds their expectations.
The next article I read was this one from Inkblurt. This talks about how Facebook encourages the negative experience that one can face. And I thought well, maybe I should look into Alexa’s point a little more. In a social networking space like Facebook, an experience designer could hone in and really think about how they wanted people to use facebook however instead people throw apps together and put them out there, which ends up turning negative. By being more conscientious we can influence those around us to take the right path and do better things. I’m totally buying into now and realizing the types of outcomes that I can have an influence in. Go me!
[techtags: USER EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE DESIGN, SUSTAINABILITY]
There are times when I know I’m an idealist. Well actually almost everyday in project meetings and planning sessions I know I’m an idealist. I get frustrated with the “process”. I get frustrated with doing things the same day in and day out and development teams wanting to go faster. Constantly I think about the saying that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. How does no one else see this?!
Doesn’t anyone else out there care about the quality of the user experience? I know to some who read this I may sound silly, but doesn’t anyone else take pride in whether or not people enjoy and can use the by-product of their hardwork??? On days like these I know that I was meant to be in this industry. I’ll admit that as a developer I didn’t always think through the interface, but now that I’ve been exposed to that line of thinking I’m never going back. They can’t make me!
[techtags: USER EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCE DESIGN]
Many of you may know this and many of you may not, but this is by far my favorite time of the year. The college basketball season is in full swing and leading the pack is none other than my favorite team the North Carolina Tarheels. After every game there is a press release describing the game as well as an article by their writer Adam Lucas. I love Lucas’ articles. Here is today’s: http://tarheelblue.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/010708aab.html. I know what some of you may be thinking. I don’t even like college basketball. What is she trying to get at? But stay with me.
So I started to think about WHY I love his writing so much and there are a few things to note that I think relate to our jobs as experience designers.
- He knows his audience (crazy tarheels fans around the world!) and caters to them. He IS one of them!
- He tells a story (just got through the Ten Faces of Innovation and I can see the storyteller persona as I type). Notice paragragh 3. He is letting the reader set their own context.
- He knows the subject that he’s writing about. This man knows Tarheels basketball through and through.
Those are the few that I picked out so far. Do you guys see any others??
[techtags: BASKETBALL, EXPERIENCE DESIGN, TARHEELS, UNC]
I read an interesting article today that was featured on the Catalyze blog. The article was put together by the McKinsey Group, and was featured in their quarterly newsletter. I started to read through it, and realized that these “trends” have been around for at least some time. After reading Wikinomics, I thought these were already fairly well known, at a bare minimum in the web “sphere”. Pardon the pun. In all seriousness, I would think that the topics would be last year’s trends to watch. So I came up with a couple of questions? Who usually sees the bus coming first. I want to believe it’s the folks who like myself and my team keep an eye out for what’s next, what works, and how to make things work better. Also, how long does it take for these ideas to penetrate other industries or schools of thought? Thoughts?
[techtags: INTERACTION DESIGN, CATALYZE, BUSINESS TRENDS]
The other day I came upon this article on UXmatters. This article is not the first, and certainly not the last that broached the subject of playfulness engaging creativity, but perhaps it was the timing that peaked my interest. Just this week I got “counseled” for using my personal gmail account at work. In fact I was told the I was viewing “inappropriate” content because nothing personal should be viewed at work, not because it was actually inappropriate. The team I work on has extended access to sites on the internet because we are looked to to be innnovative and forward thinking, however actually using them is not allowed. How is it that this makes any sense to anyone at all?? One day perhaps my team will be allowed to be at least a little more innovative and creative and HAVE FUN while we’re doing it. Until then I’ll just sit behind this iron curtain and hope an idea pops up.
Is it just me or as an UX professional do you find yourself constantly evaluating the experiences around you and trying to make them better. I knew you’d agree. I found the perfect example of an experience that needs some help. Roadside construction… at least in my city.
Last night on my drive home I sat in traffic for almost an hour. Now don’t get me wrong I realize that these guys/gals are just doing their jobs and trying to make the roads safer and better. And I also am usually very patient in these situation because of this understanding but last night all these questions were running through my head. How far down the road does this construction go? Why are they starting this DURING RUSH HOUR? How many days will this work last? What will these improvements get me?
Obviously making this experience my ideal is probably over the top, but a sign or two telling me how far I have to drive before the construction ends isn’t too much to ask. Someone out there please tell me that you’ve seen something different. That there is one construction company in one city/town/village out there that gives you some sort of heads up. Or are we just destined to sit and wonder…..
This is my dog Isabelle: .
Today I was relaxing a little after work (in all about five minutes before I thought about this post) and starting thinking about why I love this dog. I love Isabelle because, besides being very cute :), she’s consistent. I come home from work and she’s waiting at the door… everyday. I take my gym clothes out of my bag and she rolls in them… everyday. There are a few inconsistencies but all in all she’s on her game. Then I came to the realization that this is very similar to why I enjoy certain web experiences. I enjoy going to the North Carolina Tarheels’ site every Tuesday because I know there will be an interesting commentary from their writer and so on and so forth.
Now I realize that this is something very fundamental to what we all do, but I couldn’t help but get this one out. After living in a world that was consumed by our company’s overhaul of the website and knowing that this would negatively effect our users and being slightly annoyed that they didn’t understand our pain… I can’t help but blame them. They just wanted a little normalcy.