Hate Multiplies Hate

Why should we love our enemies? The first reason is fairly obvious. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Speech from MLK Christmas 1957

source: http://www.salsa.net/peace/conv/8weekconv4-2.html

UX Resolutions for 2011

New Year’s Resolutions tend to be self-focused, but what about something more altruistic. Some resolutions that touch others besides ourselves?

Now, I’m not talking about world peace, or stopping hunger (although there is nothing wrong with those). What I am talking about are things we, as UX practitioners, can do to improve the the projects and products we work on.

We should be more concerned about our industry as a whole.

Some ideas to get us started:

  • design for mobile- not just as an afterthought. Mobile may be the primary interface sooner than you think and it would do us well to treat it with the priority it deserves
  • accessibility for all- there is a lot of talk of accessibility & 508 compliance…not as much action. I’m looking at you, Apple!
  • HTML5 use- why are we still using a mish-mash of technologies and workarounds when this beautiful code is just waiting to tie all our CSS and interactivity together in an easy-to-read format?

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Business Travel is Obsolete

While traveling in general can be a mixed bag. You know, with the trials and tribulations that come with arranging transportation, sleeping in ANY bed not your own, etc.  Traveling when required for work is obsolete in all but the most specialized of cases.

I think the biggest difference is that it is not really an option to bring along my family and after spending a whole weekend with my 1 year old, I really feel this is a downfall of business travel. Who wants to have an experience that only you can experience? I did the “after college backpacking” thing…I’m over it, really. Besides, the sterile hotels we tend to stay in are a far cry from the shared youth hostels of my youth which provided enough material for at least a year’s worth of blog posts (not to be included here).

Another point is that there is always the “acceptable expenses” hanging over your head. I mean, who decides how much I’ll eat at breakfast vs lunch or dinner? Why is a glass of wine not acceptable as a beverage? Have you ever been to Europe?

Long hours- I think there just really isn’t a justification for travel anymore; Especially with my industry. I am more than equipped to provide my clients with remote research…In every instance other than what I am doing this week…which is  focus groups. It is really hard to run a focus group from a remote location. That being said, I can do nearly every other type of research without setting foot in the same city with the users. This makes traveling for work a vestige of a bygone era.

What about the horrible affect on the environment with the cars, trains, planes and paper created of our traveling? I thought the internet was supposed to help us decrease my carbon footprint. It doesn’t change my culpability just because “my boss asked me to go.” Lets try to leave something for the next generation, shall we?

Cisco has created the Telepresence Rooms. I’ve used them. Amazing. With these, truly, it is like being there. Really no need to travel. Until they invent the transporters of Star Trek, I vote that I stay in my home town until the family is in need of a tropical vacation.

Thoughts from fellow travelers?

Focus Group Philosophy

While traditional usability testing has been the bulk of my recent work, there is a special place in my heart for focus groups.

I think it stems from the enjoyment I got from teaching as well as all the groups I ran as a counselor and facilitator.

I just get so excited watching a group dynamic and getting to hear so many opinions in such a short amount of time.

While I am completely aware of the limitations and downsides of peers affecting the statements of others, I will always keep focus groups in my usability toolbox.