Category Archives: User Experience

User experience in a nutshell

User experience in a nutshell, thanks to the always interesting XKCD:

university website Venn diagram

While I was at UX Australia last month I saw a load of venn diagrams, many of them useful as a conversation-starter, to focus on the subject, but to me they ended up mostly saying: “this bit in the middle is what I want to talk about”. My problem with venn diagrams is they can be created without meaning or value and  are indicative only of one’s intentions, one’s desires, one’s own perspective, not a truly factual or researched mapping.

But I like this cartoon as it describes almost every initial meeting or workshop moment I have experienced with a client in the past.

Very often the problem with a User Experience exercise is that the client wants what is on the left and the user wants what is on the right and for some reason, the left often wins. I completely understand why they find the left important and the right scary, but isn’t “a little scared” where you need your clients to be, in order to push forward with improvements, or truly deliver on their real business goals?

Very often the information on the right is readily to hand  but they fear it is problematic or scary to release all of it or to set up the workflow and administration for it to happen. But they’ve come to you to deliver a solution to their problems, and it may be that the way to do it is to ignore their “delivery” problems and solve their user’s problems first.

You should always “scare” your clients, just a little bit, and definitely within their tolerance, but scare them a little. They’ll often understand it if you make it easy for them to do so.

It’s the little things

I remember a Charles Bukowski poem, The Shoelace (AUDIO or TEXT), I may have mentioned it here before, but it’s the little things that drive people crazy, make them mad beyond the scope of the little thing. There’s no reason your broken shoelace drives you crazy but it does. Listen to people talk on the morning bus or evening after work drink. Before the personal stuff there is usually a story of how some meaningless inconsequential event, a late train, a missed call, a broken accessory, a lost earring, made their day that much more unpleasant.

I remembered this when I got my morning coffee today, lazy; didn’t make my own.

The coffee shop give out loyalty cards, you know the ones, buy ten, get one free; that sort of thing. Great! I said! Thanks!

But it won’t fit in the space wallets have for credit cards.

I stood there while the steam gushed through the ground coffee, smelling my morning Javanese fix getting closer and I was forced to think up new places to put this card, away from other loyalty cards, bus ticket, etc. Find a new place to keep the thing that was meant to make me feel better. You made me have to think about you when I was busy thinking about me.

My morning started with a problem, when I am on my way trying to solve big problems for other people that is worth a lot of money for them. The coffee was supposed to make me feel good, but I had a problem even before I plopped at my desk.

OK, it was a small thing but your small things shouldn’t get in the way of my enjoying your company, because it’s the small things that drive us crazy.

Music grows on trees

How I rediscovered Victor Wooten from CDs in the trees.

Join the club.

Strange fruit dangling from a fig tree

Strange fruit dangling from a fig tree

something glinty dangling from the fig tree in Camperdown Rest Park, Newtown

something glinty dangling from the fig tree in Camperdown Rest Park, Newtown

Strange friuit indeed

Strange friuit indeed