Would you bet your bippy on it?

Assuming you had a bippy to bet, it’s an important question to ask when designing an experience… You could certainly replace ‘bippy’ with something you value more than your bippy.

Experience design is a series of choices based on assumptions. Assuming a user has a certain problem is the only way to create solutions. But what if you look at a screen and ask yourself how confident you are about each of the features represented. How would each feature rank based on your level of confidence that it is both usable and desirable? Is that layout/widget/nav etc. the _right_ choice?

Becoming comfortable with a design by acclimating yourself to the level of risk represented is a natural progression. But every once in a while you face a firing squad that forces you to stand by a decision. Thar’s when it is time to ask yourself if you have enough information to look someone in the eyes and say ‘i am confident you should do this.’ or better yet, become your own firing squad.

If you can’t recommend something with a certain level of confidence, it is a great sign that you need to go back to users. Validating your assumptions can give you confidence to move forward without losing a bippy.

People I’ve met at meetings

Every meeting i’ve called or attended in the last 12 years has been different. Following are some of the archetypical cast of characters I have observed (and at some time been myself)…

Single agenda lobbyist: the ‘sal’ comes to the meeting with the intent of driving one particular agenda item for which he is passionate. Sal will say his peace and may bring it up again if not satisfied with the response, but generally moves on. Unlike…

Pitbull: does not enter the meeting with an agenda item, but is constantly sniffing one out. He latches onto one somewhere mid-meeting and gets all asbergers on his issue. Then, during the recap of the meeting, adds the cherry on top by making his point one of the takeaway items… Yup. Gotcha.

Stranger: the guy sitting at the end of the table who has never attended any previous meetings on the topic. Usually spends the meeting just listening though he privately realized 3 minutes in that he does not need to attend.

Sponge: the one who does not say a thing but seems to be listening very intently. Maybe even taking diligent notes. I’ve benefited from those notes at times.

Non-sequitor: sometimes disguised as the sponge then suddenly brings up a point he clearly thinks is related, but the rest of the room silently agrees is not. Staring and blinking ensues… Everyone moves on.

The friendly: just when you run of gas trying to fend off the non-seq and pitbull – the friendly speaks in support of the point you are trying to get across. Yes! Go friendly person. That’s exactly what i am trying to say.

The egghead: bordering on obsessive compulsive, this detail-oriented chap is the one everyone turns to when a discussion leads to the question ‘is x possible?’

Worker bee: attends the meeting simply as an excuse to sit down and catch up on emails. When the conversation is directed toward him, he will likely respond with ‘what was the question again?’

The final word: this is a rare sighting indeed, but a critical one in the life of a project. You’ve heard the name mentioned throughout the project, but now you finally meet the fw with a couple of weeks left. She will decide in the first moment of the meeting whether the project will live, die or be drastically altered.

I could easily follow up this post with people i’ve met on the train.

lala.com shutting down – the fine print

Lala.com is dead. A promising cloud service that is now a cloud cautionary tale. Lots of people have accumulated lots of music with the service and trustingly stored it on the cloud. Now the music collected is likely gone.

Lala has two methods of getting your money back. One that is cleeeaaarly the preferred method and one, in tiny tiny type, alternative method.

1. The iTunes credit: this one is pretty evident in the big type.

2. A check – but act now: The tiny type at the bottom… three clicks in… grey text… “click here” as the link text


see the fine print at the bottom.

The third option is to wait and see if your tunes are available on the ‘other side’, but that is doubtful, since there are no plans mentioned of offering a similar service.

The iPad of my dreams

Actually, just an iPad-ish item that crept into my dreams. You know you have been thinking of this stuff too much when you are enamored by gadgets in your dreams.

This time it was a panoramic touch-screen device of an iPad-like nature. I was in a restaurant with a spelunking theme and the menu arrived. It was no ordinary menu. It was the touch-screen and the interface was quite slick (at least that’s how my brain perceived the experience I was making up in my mind).

Features:

The hardware was like an iPad, but more rectangular. I could see the past orders that I have placed at this spelunking restaurant, so it must have been personalized somehow. The menu was texty and scrolley (my brain was not thinking out of the box so much). I could drill into the items and see a 3D-ish image that was a “live” view (meaning it was like the pictures at Hogwarts as opposed to a static image). There was also a feature to see what others in the restaurant were ordering around me….

Then I was driving a truck and I woke up.