As mentioned in my earlier post, for at least ten years now I have been collecting User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX) Maturity Models. I’ve never really been completely satisfied with the ones I’ve found, and the main reason has been that I felt that the framework and level of detail was not appropriate for the executives with whom I’m engaging with regularly. Perhaps it’s because those models were created to guide and provoke dialogue with other UX professionals, which is also important, but not what I am trying to achieve.
I know so many people were influenced by Don Norman’s book The Psychology of Everyday Things. Although I didn’t read it when it was first published, I consumed it voraciously once I got my hands on it, and it has informed my thinking ever since.
I think if you are a UX practitioner and you’ve read it, you can’t help but seeing examples around you every day – whether it’s a door, or an elevator button, or switches of some kind. For fun, I am starting a new #uxfail tag here to capture some of those moments when the inspiration strikes.
For example, during my recent trip to Northampton to speak at Smith College, I stayed at the Hotel Northampton. It’s a historic hotel located right off of Main Street, so it’s a wonderful location for visitors. However, there were some oddities in my room worth pointing out.
For example, here are the light switches next to the bed:
It seems like a LOT of switches given the size of the room. I spent a bit of time trying to figure out what each switch was for. In fact, it’s clear other visitors have had similar issues, given how the switches were labeled:
In fact, the switch for the left nightstand was the only one I needed, but oddly enough, it was in the bottom left corner of this set. I couldn’t figure out the other two, and finally gave up trying.
During my stay I also requested a small refrigerator, as due to some serious health issues I typically travel with my own food. In the past, I’ve had these little fridges freeze my meals – which is not so good when traveling with salad, and/or you don’t have access to a microwave. I was told to wait until the unit had some time to cool off. So once it had been plugged in for some time (and given my past experiences), I realized I should check the temperature. So I opened the refrigerator to check the settings, and found this:
It needed to be a little colder but … was colder towards the 1 or the 6. No idea. I didn’t want to take the risk of ruining my food, so I left it as is.
On Wednesday this week, PM360 featured my article about analytics and behavior change on the front page of their site. PM360 is a site targeted at product managers and marketers in the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries. The Panorama eBulletin has a circulation of 17K and is read online by more than 43K unique monthly visitors. So needless to say I was really thrilled to see my perspective shared with such a broad audience.
Some days I am amazed at how much the field of User Experience has evolved in the years I’ve been doing this work.
And, at other moments I am equally amazed about how much further we have to go. For example, the other day I was typing something in to Google Docs, and when I typed ‘UX’, it didn’t come up in the dictionary:
I suppose I could add it, but I was surprised it wasn’t already there! It was a good reminder that the field is still in it’s infancy, in the big scheme of things.
During the first week of April, I had the opportunity visit Smith College, where I did my undergraduate degree. I was there to talk to Anthropology majors, speak to a Methods class (Anthropology with a sprinkling of Design Thinking), and deliver a public lecture. It was great to be back on campus and interact with the super smart and motivated women there.
For this final public lecture, I was focused on helping students and local guests understand a bit about how I got to where I am today. I spoke with them about what it’s like to work in the high tech / consulting industry, the differences between Big Data and Small Data (with some examples from project work), the power of storytelling, and the benefits of bringing both anthropology and design to the table to solve the toughest problems in business.