Monthly Archives: November 2014

what happens without design

HdBGu

our current challenges around government, corporations and the economy are due to a lack of conscious experience design effort

more and more i feel that we need to realize that its all up to us

we need to more actively participate and to quite literally guide the re-design of our readymade, given systems — most of which, at this point, no longer effectively serve our human needs as a society, especially those needs of people living below the most upper of upper classes in this nation and the world

but how do we meaningfully participate? 

and would it be more effective to participate within the given systems or somehow work on designing a more renegade, extra-governmental set of new systems to positively create faster momentum and greater impact for the vast majority of people?

for me its the whole
design or be designed
decision we all need to make

or, i guess, we can all simply continue with our armchair quarterbacking methodology of just sitting back and complaining about the horrific results coming out of the current dynamics { which were, of course, historically guided to where they are today }

 

into the subconscious

wv

swept away into this vast ocean of overwhelming feelings & my own aching emptiness
i dive deeper, i swim away from the surface
down, down

here i find a suboceanic comfort
a lightness
a safe, watery nest
where time becomes fluid & still for a spell

i can stay here for a while
or dive even deeper
into the subconscious

Happy Birthday Walter!

WalterNess

Hi Kathryn,

I’m not sure what’s going on tonight — I’m guessing an underground continuing version of Energy Circle and a celebration of Walter’s birthday? Too cool!

Well, here’s my appreciation of some moments spent with Walter …

Jon HindmarshDeb Mascara and i started up a series of laugh performances as Laugh Foundation and we were preparing to perform for a show at Doran Gallery at MassArt. We couldn’t find a private spot to warm up and practice, but luckily we found a nearby elevator to laugh in and Walter was there to share in our rather public laugh intervention performance on this readymade stage. It was such a delight to share in this merry mirth-making experience with Walter, Laugh Foundation and some random students and parents on the elevator — a rather interesting little experiment to conduct together with our amazing guru of laughter, energy and joy, thank you SO much Walter for giving us your insight and guidance into the human phenomena of laughter and energy! You’re the best!

Happy birthday Walter!

Much love and laughter to everyone tonight!

lou

UX, we have a problem { or a few }

uxskimo

 

there’s the cute little UX eskimo — so innocent and cute, standing in his little Inuit happiness at the tip of the iceberg

the iceberg represents the UX process and our deliverables in this rather well-known and beautifully illustrated depiction of all those things that user experience actually is — and the eskimo is your happy tour guide to the iceberg, our little Virgil just waiting to show us around the wonderful processes and deliverables in our vector-drawn Divine Comedy of UX

go download the poster from PAZ — its something nice to print out and hang on your fridge

now psychoanalyze the poster for a few minutes here with me, because unfortunately i think that the informative nature of the this design piece is equally balanced by an unintended, expressive reflection that a many user-centered design professionals can relate to on myriad levels

here’s my high-level interpretation:

we stand alone at the top of a mountain of ice that’s floating in dangerous, deadly-cold waters

we know what we’re talking about, we can see The Big Picture from the vantage point we’re standing at, and this is a fantastic place to be in 2014 — we can feel like leaders in our profession, we hold a unique vision, a perspective that includes the intersection of design, people, technology, business and this mysterious force called experience, the thing that rules them all, right?

but i wonder as i examine this poster,
where are the other little eskimos?

where are the good people on the business side? where are the cSuite and product and project managers? where are the developers? and where are all the other amazing professionals that we constantly engage with and collaborate with on a daily basis to create an optimal, immersive and delightful experience?

we don’t do it alone

even if it oftentimes feels that way, and even if the setup just happens to put us in this solo spot

we can’t do it alone

but there we are — little eskimos that somehow need to keep the feeling of UX warm and friendly and cute, even amidst the most bitter, freezing elements of this strange wintry environment

but this is the myth — and its actually both the myth and the actual reality of the business on SO many occasions because most businesses still do not understand what we do in UX beyond the buzz of we need some UX to make this better

they’re still expecting a person to wave the magic wizardly wand to sprinkle that glittery UX dust on the original missed opportunities from Phase 1 not quite realizing that its not a person or the people of UX you need to invest in — its both the people and the processes they bring to the business table that need your trust, your empowerment and your investment

i’ve worked in the realm of interaction and UX now for 2 decades and i am flabbergasted at how many times the process falls to shit because the UX Team is not given the power and trust to contribute both at a reasonable pace and at a necessary level of leaderly quality in our daily collaborations

when i bring my automobile to the shop to get it fixed, per esempio, i might have a conversation with the mechanic to understand her/his diagnostic analysis of the situation and to understand the cost and consequences of my repairs, but my own sense of subjectivity never really enters the equation because i have a relationship with the expert professionals that are helping me get back on the road in a safe and reasonable manner

in almost the same scenario in the world of experience design, however, the expertise of the professional is almost always questioned, challenged and compromised — defend the quality and integrity of the design as best as you must, there is rarely the occasion that UX is given even a good enough sense of respect and trust to simply move forward with the plans as envisioned by the designer — there is always something to challenge the design rationale, the feasibility of the development work, the cost and scope of the design recommendations { such a wimpy-ass word, too, if you ask me, these recommendations }, even the usability, research and other current, established methodological practices all seem to get some sense of snarl-lipped scrutiny from the business forces surrounding UX

the odds are still against us

and the challenge and territory of experience design as a professional practice are still a much larger iceberg we’re touring, my friends and colleagues — the challenge for UX in 2014 and moving forward is formidable — formidable but possible — but it entails SO much more than what is so cutely included in this poster toy depiction of User Centred Design { intentional misspelling, i assume? — not that i’m opposed to any concrete poetics inspired by e.e. cummings and others, of course } — and the challenges are far more about: developing our soft skills; improving our abilities to command the other languages we need to speak with the entire milleau of vast and diverse collaborative teams; and optimizing the way we navigate and guide { or a stronger word, the one i prefer, would be lead } the over-politicized, internal { and external } corporate ecosystems that our processes and personas need to function within

we still have a lot to keep working on

we need to flip the diagrammatics, these visuals that both paint the expressive picture of our work while also simultaneously informing ourselves and others about what our industry is all about

firstly, we should always move up, not down, into the process — we need a different metaphor, one where we wouldn’t end up under water in the frigid Arctic Ocean as a consequence of flipping the paradigm — but first and foremost, progress is almost universally expressed through upward movement, unlike what we see with our friendly UX eskimo and iceberg { a very intriguing Freudian Slip, though, to keep in mind when you start to look at the poster by what the industry must feel like to the poster artist }

and secondly, we need more people, eskimos and others, as the leaders and guides to the process

UX is not a solo endeavor — it should not even remotely ever be considered the efforts and fruits for the hands of an individual contributor

and there’s obviously so much more beyond this poster to be worked on, but how we visualize who we are and what we do matters so much — we still have a perception challenge for UX — we need to keep working on it together

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