Posts Tagged 'Observations'

The Ultimate Question to UX

When I was 15, I first read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series. At the time I was amused by the snarky humor and tone. Recently I reread the first book of the series and while I found myself disenchanted by the writing, I was intrigued by a particular entry.

Spoilers Included. One of the themes of The Hitchhiker Books is the understanding of Life, The Universe, and Everything. A species in an alternate dimension develop a computer, ‘Deep Thought’, to uncover the answer to the ultimate question. The following is an excerpt between the computer and scientists as the answer is revealed.

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.” – Deep Thought

“But it was the Great Question! The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything,” – Scientists

Now what is interesting about this quote is when I first read the books I wasn’t involved in UX. I wasn’t even aware of UX as a field. Rereading this passage I immediately identify with the sentiment, to the processes I explore, and to the conversations I have with clients.

When addressing client engagements, we often come up with solutions before fully understanding the problem space. Even the best of us have preconceived notions on what a solution could be as we enter discovery. We rely on previous work, influence from clients or ‘best in breed’ examples and we tarnish our clean slate with these assumptions.

This passage from the book is a good reminder that while we might have a solution in mind or think we understand a problem, it might be for the wrong reasons. Knowing the question – the problem – we are striving to solve for is critical in designing the appropriate solution. Otherwise we end up with elegant solutions for the wrong problem, or for a problem that doesn’t exist. After all, we can always ask “How many roads must a man walk down?”




Get Out of Your Cave

Get out of the office, your den, your cave, and go work in public. You’ll enjoy it.

This is hardly an epic realization and more a self reflection. I recently went ‘mobile’ again with a purchase of a 13″ MBP and I am no longer tied to my desktop at home. And there is something to be said about working out in the open.

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Why We Dread Jury Duty

This week I answered my summons for Jury Duty. This is the second time I have been called for Jury Duty and my first time in Philadelphia. This is not a civil service that comes lightly, and there is a great deal of responsibility to it. Yet that is not why everyone I know dreads getting that piece of mail. It means a day of waiting, removed from technology, not working, not communicating, and possibly being called to sit for more days in an actual jury. But is it truly Jury Duty that we dread or the entire experience around it?

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It’s Not You, It’s We

“It’s not you, it’s me” is one of the classic breakup lines. Seinfeld even has an entire episode dedicated to the line in which George gets quite adamant about inventing the line. Now this has very little direct application in a client-consultant relationship and this post has nothing to do with breaking up with a client. Instead, it is how this line might be adapted and used during conversations with a client.

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A Social Media Goof

A brief post to point out an observation I made yesterday. Watching the ABC remake of V, I wanted to Tweet about some of the activity on the show. I went for the hashtag method #V. What I then learned shocked me (about as much as learning the first time around the Vs are lizards)… hashtags cannot be single characters.

So, I understand the need for consistency to the original and would not change that for a second. But I wonder what is ABC and the show losing in terms of viral marketing and social networking if the show cannot be captured in a simple Twitter hashtag? In todays world of social networks and back channel conversations it is important to keep social media in mind and where you might have created constraints to limit your identity from fully saturating certain markets.

TV’s 6 Degrees and My Muddled Mind

We all know about Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon or more commonly known as Six Degrees of Separation. I love the game and have some personal pride in being a walking IMDB of sorts being able to connect some rather obscure actors to each other. Still, when watching television and movies I like to immerse my mind in the fictional realm and I get confused when I suddenly see Lando Calrissian as Harvey Dent. This gets to be a little more confusing across television where you tend to build a relationship with characters over the course of episodes, seasons, and years.

With this in mind, something possessed me to map out the television I have followed over the last year. The initial result is below. My explanation to how I structured this after the jump.

initial map
Continue reading ‘TV’s 6 Degrees and My Muddled Mind’

AT&T’s Poor, no innapropriate, billing design

This is a rant, plain and simple but Twitter’s 140 characters is not enough to explain this.

This is my AT&T plan:

450 anytime (A)

5000 nights and weekends (NW)

Free mobile to mobile on AT&T (M2M)

Now this is how they bill you:

Anytime: 6AM-9PM, Mon-Fri

Nights and Weekends: 9PM-6AM, Mon-Fri, All Saturday and Sunday

Continue reading ‘AT&T’s Poor, no innapropriate, billing design’

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