Modern Day Electrician

I wonder how many homes were built out of order once electricity was on the scene. Did electricians have to fight to be apart of the process like Ux professionals have to fight for a seat at the “development table”? It’s honestly not a fight I want to participate in. Instead, I’d work with those who know that Ux is needed.

I’m sure some had years of experience building homes without electricity, and once it came along had the bright idea to loop in an electrician from the very beginning. I bet that those companies had significantly more success than those who decided that electricity could be added well after the house was constructed.

Can you imagine? Thankfully something like that sounds absurd today. I am hoping that soon, the thought of discussing the idea of a site/app/product, building a team, and the timeline without Ux is also deemed equally absurd.

Ux speaks for itself when done well. A Ux professional will have great success when they understand the roles and goals of the other people sitting at the table and can articulate their purpose and goals to their teammates. So I won’t fight someone, a team, a company, or business owner for a spot because I know how powerful and useful Ux. Those who have taken the time to go out and understand Ux, how powerful it can be the way they would go and look into the power of design, marketing, programming, or a sales team. Those are the business owners I want to work with.

Personally, I don’t think it’s that hard to understand that Ux is more than just design. It certainly goes beyond research. It has a place in strategy, implementation, evaluation, and identifying potential. For those who are progressive enough in my wake, I’ve been able to demonstrate how Ux can be used to help other groups who are apart of the success/failure of a product.

While the goal of Ux is to make the life of the user more comfortable. Ux can benefit those who represent:

  • The business and their intention to make money
  • Marketing professionals and their goal to capture and educate potential users
  • The sales team and their goal convert people into users
  • Developers and their goal to build tools people will use
  • Quality Assurance and their goal for a consistent and problem-free experience for the users
  • Creatives (designers, photographers, videographers, writers, etc.) and their goal to deliver work that is consistent and always points back to the brand and message of the company/product
  • Legal and their goal to protect the company/product’s proprietary work, brand, and people
  • Cyber Security and their goal to protect the product, personnel, and user’s information

Like electricity, even though Ux has been around a while (by development world standards), few still use it exclusively to capture the needs of users. Many still feel like business personnel need to hand-hold and guard the path, at the risk that Ux might run-off and bring harm to the business or the product. Which don’t get me started on how ridiculous of a fear that is. The same way people still used gas-lighting, candles, etc. to heat their homes and provide light, when homes started to be outfitted with electricity.

There is a long road ahead of Ux, even still, but as I stated before. I’m not interested in fighting tooth+nail with companies that already exist and don’t welcome Ux with open arms. I’m here for the business owners that have already done their due diligence and are prepared to welcome Ux with open arms, ready to collaborate. Solely for the reason that Ux can’t do what it does best without such a welcome. It doesn’t benefit me to do subpar work because the business isn’t ready.

There’s a difference between working with difficult people and then working with those who don’t respect Ux. I have plenty of experience with both, and I choose to no longer work with business owners or work for companies who don’t respect and do what they should to learn about and understand Ux.

Every single group of people involved in the creation, improvement, and release of a digital product plays a vital role. It has been my personal experience that when the whole team not only understands but respects the purpose, goals, and needs of each group, it sets up an environment for excellence. They’re able to roll out a product that is¬†worthy of winning awards, setting industry standards, and meeting the needs of their users in a way their competitors never could.

When Ux is understood and respected, I find that:

  • Business doesn’t have to worry about making money but focus on the next feature
  • Marketing simply tries to find more ways to spread the word about the product
  • The sales team finds themselves promoting the latest feature and not having to work too hard to sell the overall product
  • Developers are satisfied knowing that what they build is actually being used
  • QA can catch problems faster
  • Creatives know that the products they support are making a difference
  • Legal has fewer headaches,
  • Cybersecurity has even more to protect

All while Ux continues to achieve its goal of making users content and more accessible, the same way electricity makes our lives easier today.

I wonder how many homes were built out of order once electricity was on the scene. Did electricians have to fight to be apart of the process like Ux professionals have to fight for a seat at the “development table”? It’s honestly not a fight I want to participate in. I’d rather work with those who know that Ux is needed. I’m sure there were those who had years of experience building homes without electricity and once it came along had the bright idea to loop in an electrician from the very beginning. I bet that the company had significantly more success than those who decided that electricity could be added well after the house was constructed. Can you imagine? Thankfully something like that sounds absurd today and I am hoping that in the near future the thought of building something, discussing the idea of an application/product, building a team, etc is all done with a representative of Ux at the table.

Ux speaks for itself when done well. A Ux professional will have great success when they understand the roles and goals of the other people sitting at the table and can articulate their role and goals to their teammates. So I won’t fight someone, a team, a company, or business owner for a spot because I know how powerful and useful Ux

The Director

Let’s just get this out of the way and let me state that I adore my current team. Just this past weekend I attended one of my co-worker’s vow renewal with his wife of fifteen years and next to me sat my boss’ boss, The Director. Our team is like family, we joke with each other far more than we fight a 2400 x 3 ratio and that’s just within the last 6 months that I’ve been working with them.

The Director immediately stood out to me when he interviewed me. He used the word “family” and since then I’ve paid close attention to the way he directs the team, himself, and our role as a department within the company.

Our department’s name doesn’t explain what it is we do but we are a group of graphic designers, video producers, compositors, Ux designers, front-end developers, project managers, photographers, videographers, copywriters, animators, print designers, screenwriters, digital designers, and camera operators. We are a team of twelve, we each wear multiple hats, complimenting each other very well. At least two of us share a skill set: allowing us at least one other person to bounce ideas off of; at least one other person who knows, lives, and breathes our struggle; and at least one other person to be pinned up against you at some point in time to create a better design/project/etc. It is a collaborative and competitive environment and those we serve benefit from it.

Iron sharpens iron.

Let me reel it back in, I believe in the family approach when it comes to building a team and this is the first person that I’ve worked under that has built a team in this manner. I asked them how they do it, they say they go with their gut and then they hand them off to the rest of the family to get their take. This family can be intimidating. I know because I remember meeting them for the first time. So many people really comfortable with each other, like a family, that gets along with one another.

So how did the Director do it? I have no clue but I can speak to the way they¬†have carried themselves and the way I believe anyone leading a team/department should carry themselves: Continue reading →

John Maeda – A message on Design and Inclusion

I absolutely agree with this, something that I’ve felt is a required characteristic of a Ux Designer. We have to care about people. How our interfaces effect users. We want to be as inclusive as possible.

Design and Exclusion

Keynote_01-John Maeda

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