16 04, 2019

Context is everything

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How can you design a product for your customer if you do not know your customer, the business domain, and the technology you are building with? People do it all the time.

How many technologists have the coolest latest thing that they are searching for a market and a user?

How about the designer who had the most awesome solution that cannot be built within years or millions of dollars?

Or the product manager who knows better than his users what they need and will get development to build what he wants?

We all work with or know people who work with these situations. A solution needs to meet the users needs and desires, fit the market and be sellable, and be produceable with the technology and expertise at hand. Creating a solution with all three aspects provides the best start to delivering a profitable solution that people want.

14 04, 2019

Migraines … what I do

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Migraines can render me useless in a dark room with ice on my eyes.

At first the lightening bolts appear in my eyes. Sections of my sight disappear which makes looking at my computer impossible. Then arrives the headaches and nausea.

To reduce the effects and duration I do the following:

  • 1000mg ibuprofen
  • 1000mg acetaminophen
  • Pinch the stress out of the shoulders on both sides
  • Ice packs under the eyes
  • Get in a relaxing position with my eyes closed

This reduces the 4-6 hour episode to 30 min-1 hr.

Now the worst part is the anticipation that the migraine is not going to be short and will take up a third of the day. I would like never to get them again but I really do appreciate the idea that I can reduce the effects.

12 04, 2019

Employee engagement across distributed teams

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We have teams of people across several clients and location. Each team is embedded at the client site and fully focused on project work. Typically each person is engaged at the client level but may or may not feel connected to our company.

There are several articles for telecommuting workers and only a handful around distributed teams and engagement that I have found. The articles talk about:

  • Virtual gatherings on a regular basis
  • Open ended questions allowing employees to discuss around work
  • Social communication channels for “water cooler” talk
  • Connecting with the company mission and goals
  • Ensure that employees feel that they are appreciated
  • Reciprocate the time and effort people put in for the company with demonstrated results, actions, and changes as issues are discussed
  • Provide a place to share stories and learnings between teams
10 04, 2019

Incessant evil of the electronic tether

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As the UX designer sits around thinking of the gamification or ways to keep you engaged with your phone apps, did he care or have any concerns for the consequences? It’s insidious and nearly impossible to get away from. I turn off most of my notifications and am still harassed every few minutes by my phone.

What is wrong with adding these features? Nothing except this is scientifically driven psychological manipulation. So what is the problem? People are free to make their own decisions. The apps are just trying to make things more convenient.

Designers need to consider the ethical impact of manipulating human behavior for little benefit for the individual. The impact is being documented and reported almost every day so you cannot hide. You need to ask yourself, where do you draw the line.

Do you work for Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or any number of other consumer product and service companies that are hoovering up individual information and feeding it back to hook people on more things? Is this really improving the user experience?

9 04, 2019

Once you log in, you have no freedom of speech. Social media is private, not government.

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It is a strange balancing act that social media companies have played. They want to grow as fast as possible and get as much money as possible. They have hid behind protecting free speech on their platforms. The only free speech they are protecting is their own.

Social media companies can kick anyone off for any reason. So the fact that they allow trolls and racist lepers infest their platforms is by design or blatant disregard.

“websites have no legal requirement to protect your speech, and they can ban you for any reason and mostly without consequence” – Comparitech

So design a way for people to police their communities and to live the way they want. Let me exclude people who choose to use hate speech. Why do people who post online need to see the trolls and racist lepers? We should be able to form our own communities. Companies need to stop pretending that this openness they pretend to protect is for the betterment of society rather than for their numbers and bottom line.

8 04, 2019

Over 77% Of CEOs Are Looking For …

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  1. Creativity
  2. Innovation

This Forbes article is lazy. They had a good headline then quit.

Great. CEOs want creativity and innovation. Deming and Ford are an interesting historical footnote.

What are CEOs really looking for? The writer explains that innovation is what they want. “New ways of looking at people and processes are the best ways to improve them.” This by definition is what any company is doing to succeed.

What I am looking for is what do executives mean by creativity and innovation. Our experience with executives looking for innovation is that they are not prepared for an innovative revolution. They are looking for evolution, a stepwise improvement. They need to make small bets that test many ideas with minimal impact to the existing money streams.

7 04, 2019

For 28yrs the Women’s World Cup shirts were men’s???

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How ridiculous is it that the clothes were not even made for women

This year Nike is making uniforms that fit women.

Maybe the men should wear those new Nike women’s jerseys for the next 28yrs.

6 04, 2019

Spring is here

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4 04, 2019

Hiring a UX designer for a technical enterprise company

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There are many kinds of designers lumped into UX designers. There are visual designers, information architects, website designers, consumer app designers, usability engineers, interaction designers, UI designers, human factors engineers, user researchers, and I am sure that I could come up with more. The point is that there are different flavors and emphasis around different types of design within UX.

When you begin looking for a designer, do not get caught up in the tools and the specifics. Every designer needs to learn and adapt to the tools and specifics of a project or company. What you need to focus on is what kind of product that you need to design.

Most enterprise applications that I have worked with are very complicated, have many kinds of users and roles, require lots of configuration, have a lot of information, require huge amounts of setup, are transactional, and have stateful screens. Understanding the users, the business domain and the technology is essential to the creation and execution of good designs. So understanding how the designer works through this process, tools, models, techniques, negotiations, testing and validation.

All of what the designer shows and communicates has to be in the pursuit of simplifying this complexity for the user. They need many of the skills of each type of designer in UX but really needs to be deep in the area that is most challenging for your team. Many cases there is a huge gap in expertise in the enterprise team around interaction design and how a user can follow through this complicated system to get their job done with ease.

The trap that I frequently see is that enterprise software organizations typically have huge engineering teams and have rarely had designers. […]

3 04, 2019

How do you know that your customer will buy what you are making?

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Whether you are a startup or a long time business, why do you think the next product you build they will buy? You build it… they will come?

We spend more time worrying about the tools and processes we have then the needs of our customers.

What other investments do you make where you spend this much time and money and have no idea whether you are going to get what you want?

Spend time observing your customers. Get to know them. Walk in there shoes. Know their dreams and what they think about when they are awake. Intimately understand them and you will solve the problem that they will pay for … Not just your fantasy project.