Transcription and further thoughts:
- We all know Pop Culture … but we know very little about what is troubling our own communities.
- How then are we supposed to improve them!
- We created huge companies to make popular food for us. (Pizza tastes better than Broccoli)
- Likewise, we created huge companies to make popular information for us (Opinion tastes better than News)\
- We value feeling like we’re right (and being told that we are right) over being informed.
- Ignorance is not just a lack of information, but also due to our exposure to affirmatory information.
- Consider putting yourself on an Information Diet …
- … and realise that your information choices have social consequences.
- Every click, every view, of content on the net biases future content creation.
- Because information is provided to us as a money-making venture, providers will solve the equation for maximum profit, via maximum popularity.
- Keys to a positive Information Diet
- Be aware of what you consume
- Pay attention to local things
- Be a producer
- By starting your day with creation, instead of consumption, you set the tone for your day as one of action, not mere reaction.
- Work on stuff that matters.
Yuss! It’s one of my favourite times of year – the annual Webstock design conference in Wellington, NZ.
I’m working on sketchnoting at the moment, so I’ll be posting up my feeble attempts, as well transcribing my notes into bullet points to make them more readable.
… you know the one I’m talking about.
The one the swirls behind your eyelids when you’re trying to sleep.
The one that changes your mood completely when you think about it as you munch on breakfast.
The one that you fret about, and worry you might choose wrong.
Don’t be reckless. Sit down, do the research, talk to the people your care about. Work out the costs, understand the risks, know whyyou need to choose.
And then, decide.
Maybe you choose one way, maybe the other. But life is too short to leave important choices languishing forever on the backburner of indecision.
Don’t let it hold you captive anymore.
Make that decision.
Footnote: As I was drafting this, Seth Godin’s latest blog post landed in my email. If you’ve a decision you need to make, he has some very good advice, right here.
This meeting has been going for hours.
It’s nearly lunchtime.
And still no-one is able to come to a decision on your new designs.
“I think we should use a darker blue.”
“Wow, those rounded corners really improve the user experience, don’t they!”
“I really think that this flow needs to be more intuitive to the user.”
What’s in our UX future?
All too often, when we present a design to others, the discussion seems to get out of control.
Each person has their own, strongly held opinions on what the solution should look like – and sometimes it seems that everyone is trying to solve different problems, too!
This is where UX principles come in.
A UX principle is simply an answer to the question “What will our product be like?”
It doesn’t delve into how you’ll build the product.
But it helps you choose between different ‘how’s.
As you create a set of UX principles, they can foster discussions about the priorities inside a project, “We value this aspect of our UX, over this other one.”
They serve as a vehicle for building shared understanding, for gaining agreement that “yes, this is what we’re trying to achieve” – especially if you create them working together with the other members of the project.
And, best of all, they can help you end that nightmare meeting.
“Well, we all agreed that it was really important that ‘The next step must always be obvious to the user.’ Which of these design decisions gets us closest to that goal?”
If you’re interested in learning more about UX principles and how to build them, I highly recommend Jared Spool’s excellent article on creating great principles here.
So … I can be the stubborn sort. From time to time.
Particularly, I can be petulant when it comes to changing things about myself. It is a flaw that I struggle against, and one of my weapons in this fight is throwing myself into challenging situations. Put myself in places I can’t help but change and grow, as it were.
Which is why (among myriad other reasons), when I discovered Amy Hoy’s incredible 30×500 Launch Class at the beginning of 2012, I knew that I HAD to take it.
And that equally, I needed to succeed at it – not to prove anything to anyone, but because I needed it – no matter what it took.
30×500 is an all-consuming whirlwind of mindset change & personal growth – and teaches you the foundations for building a product business that is successful, sane & humane.
And it is HARD.
But – and here’s the thing – it is good hard. It is the kind of hard that keeps you coming back for more. The kind of difficult that keeps you awake late at night, as you brainstorm new ways of tackling the challenge.
It is honest. Amy never paints 30×500 as a comfortable cruise, or a rosy prance in a field of wildflowers. Realistic pragmatism is the name of the game at Camp 30×500 – and it’s not always comfortable seeing yourself in the unflattering mirror of reality. But it is worth it – if you don’t realise something is broken, you don’t have a hope of fixing it.
But 30×500 is not a futile escape attempt from the Steamroller of Despair. There is a clear path laid before you, in carefully curated detail, that makes it obvious that, “Yes – that is actually possible for me to achieve, if I just keep going”. It sets lofty goals, and then shows you concrete steps to get there.
Add to that a hugely supportive community of new students, returning students & alumni. For me, part-way through the course at the moment, this has been critical. I’ve stumbled repeatedly, gotten stuck, fallen behind, been stubborn – and every time the class has been there to listen, share experiences, and help me to get back on track.
I’m about 2/3rds through 30×500 at the moment, deep in a frenzy of research & analysis. At this point, I’m very aware of my shortcomings – and very confident that if I keep putting in the work, keeping working forward, and stay connected to the class, I will overcome them. As Amy puts it,
“Rules + Process + Effort = Result”
30×500 has offered me hope, and shown me a clear, sensible, pragmatic, repeatable approach to get there. It’s presented by a talented teacher that really cares, and is taken alongside a group of amazing students at different stages of their journey.
It has changed the way I think in ways that are already proving immensely valuable to me.
And slowly but surely, it is helping me replace my petulant stubbornness with productive determination.
What more could I possibly ask for?
(If you want to learn more about Amy’s 30×500 course, check out her website, http://unicornfree.com/)
Would you like an achievement …
I want my user to enjoy using my product.
And what better way to do that, than to make it like a game? After all, everyone likes games, don’t they!
So when you sign up for my product … 10 points! Achievement unlocked!!
When you edit your profile page … 50 points!!! Woohoo!!!! Feel the fun!!!!!!!
When you’ve closed off 50 whatsits … 2000 points!!!!!!! How incredible!!!!!!!!!!
… or to achieve something?
I don’t play games to be told I’m awesome, although that can be nice. Even though games are fictional arenas, I play games to be awesome.
I don’t use a particular product for the sole purpose of being good at using that product. I use that product to get things done.
As Kathy Sierra says,
“Users don’t care who helps them – they just want to be awesome.”
When a product tells me I’m awesome, that doesn’t mean all that much to me.
But if a products helps me to be better at what I’m trying to achieve … that’s a whole different story.
A fork in the road
Option A: Build a product which celebrates trivial interactions, and pressures your users to share them.
Option B: Build a product which lets your user achieve awesome things & feel great doing it – so much so that they can’t help but tell everyone about it.
Which one would you want to use?
(Edit: I was introduced to these ideas by Kathy Sierra in her fantastic talk at Webstock 2012 – that talk totally reshaped the way I think about UX.)
Periodically, I come across the idea that, “experience cannot be designed.”
I’ve always been conflicted when thinking about this question.
Sure, you cannot perfectly predict human behaviour & reactions. But design can make a phenomenal difference in how people react.
My thoughts suddenly snapped into clarity today, when Steve Baty tweeted
“The notion of designing for an experience is not one of control. It’s about having an [emphasis] intent. This isn’t some power/ego trip. ” – @docbaty (original tweet)
- You can’t make people enjoy playing football …
- But you most certainly can remove the giant spikes from the ball.
Can a User Experience be Designed?
Set out to delight your customers, not control them. To understand & support what they are trying to achieve, not push them to conform to your design.
And remember to unstab your football.
FAKEGRIMLOCK’s brilliant post BECAUSE AWESOME delivers a masterful lesson on helping people, thinking about your readers, and making awesome stuff.
When I woke up yesterday, I never expected I would find my self reading copywriting advice written by a self-described giant robot dinosaur.
How wrong I was!
“NO CARE ABOUT WORLD? FILL WITH FAKE WIN TODAY. DROWN IN REAL FAIL TOMORROW.” – FAKEGRIMLOCK
If you care about making awesome things your customers will love, go read BECAUSE AWESOME right now. Whether you feel like you want some fresh perspective, or you’re trying to help someone else to understand, FAKEGRIMLOCK has written the perfect article for you.