I’m not sure there is anything more terrifying than the message below:
If you work on a computer, you know exactly what I mean. Password change day, is hell. Pure hell.
You know the scenario: You’ve waited until the absolute last minute, and you’re being forced to change your password. It’s probably Monday (why is it always Monday?). Your day starts with all hands on deck meeting. You make the password change first thing, a confident choice you’ll totally remember, then walk into the meeting room. You realize you need to print something off for the meeting. You head back to your computer, and muscle memory kicks in…. you fail. You stumble with the new password, and fail again. Your third chance is crucial: slow down and nail it, or risk locking your machine and having to make the embarrassing call to Help Desk. When you get it right, you celebrate the small victory (with a fist pump) of making it through your own obstacle course…. And then you realize you’re late for your meeting.
I spend a lot of time thinking about websites. I focus on what works, what doesn’t’, and why. I look at numbers, ask people about their feelings, and at the end of it all…make decisions. A couple weeks ago, I was asked to go speak to a group of students at Salt Lake Community College, and explain some of those thoughts. It made me organize a few thoughts, and I thought I would share them with the interwebs, as well.
When I first started thinking about usability, I was kind of at a loss. My only opinions were those of “like” and “don’t like.” I was thinking more about how things looked, not how they worked. I realized that, to actually make a site better, I needed to change my thinking. I started with something that I had more experience with: brick and mortar stores. I looked at them to find some inspiration. It helped.
jar•gon (noun) \ˈjärgən\
Language that is characterized by uncommon or pretentious vocabulary and convoluted syntax and is often vague in meaning.
How many times have you sat in a meeting and been frustrated by “that” guy? You know the one. The person that tells the group “let’s take this offline,” and we’ll “circle back later” and that he’s going to come around and “pepper” us with questions. Don’t be that guy. No one likes that guy. We all know he doesn’t actually know what he’s talking about. He just likes talking.
I have a confession to make… I’m 3 months “sober” of Diet Coke. I know, I know. It’s shocking. I get it. Trust me, no one was more surprised than I am. But, well… it was time. I needed a little break, and to give my body the chance to rid itself of the caffeine addiction that I’ve held onto for a long, long time*. Plus, I promised to support my sister when she had to give up caffeine for some health issues.
Yesterday I was on a business call and the person I was talking with, had Google’d me before the call. He had seen my blog post about my love of Diet Coke, and asked me if I had had one today. I kind of laughed, when I told him I was giving it a little break right now, to which he replied, “What? I thought that was part of who you are?!” And I realized he was right…
A few years ago I made the very grown up move to purchase my first home, a sweet little place not far from downtown Salt Lake. I had some basic criteria (at least three bedrooms, attached garage, more than one bathroom), but found myself mostly ok with compromising on a number of other points. The yard included. In fact, I compromised a lot on the yard… and I have spent the last two summers ripping a near jungle out of the front and back. It’s been an unbelievable amount of work, and also the best therapist I could ask for. But this summer… the real fun begins: I’m putting the yard back in.
I have been overwhelmed at the task, and I haven’t really known where to start. That’s when I realized I needed to attack my yard, the same way I do my creative process. So, that’s exactly what I did.
This one time, I brought my nephew to work.
I recently brought my 13 year old nephew to work with me for “Shadow Day.” He’s an eighth grader at a local middle school, and Shadow Day is part of their Career curriculum, and required for grade advancement. He called me about a month ago and asked if he could tag along with me to work. I was kind of surprised at first, then happy to know he had picked joining me at work, over going with his Accountant Father. I took his interest as a compliment. Then suddenly began to worry that a day at work with me may also not be very fun. He, on the other hand, was excited from the moment he was given the assignment.
Anybody that knows me knows one thing for sure: I love Diet Coke. I blame my Grandma. Well, not the Diet Coke part, but the Coca-Cola part, for sure. She used to sneak me sips from her can when I was a little girl. My Dad was anti-soda, and my Grandma was going out on a limb every time she would sneakily give me a taste. I remember her keeping her “stash” in a brown paper bag when she would visit. And on a really lucky day she would fill a small paper cup for me, and sneakily hand it over. I loved it. I felt so rebellious, and special. I can still smell those small cups of bubbly love. Every time I drink a Classic Coke, I am 6 years old again, and I’m drinking out of that paper cup. Sometime in my early 20’s I made the switch to Diet Coke. I’ve never looked back.
I have spent countless hours in high school basketball gyms watching my niece play ball. I’m addicted. Shamelessly and I don’t care who knows it. And part of the reason I love it, is how “team” focused her Coach has been. Every game starts with a choreographed warm-up routine of passing, and shooting drills. The team dressed identically, down to their shoe laces, each knows the “dance” by heart. After each drill, a series of encouraging hi-5’s, positive cheers, and the like all happen while music fills the gymnasium.
Do you ever talk to yourself? No, really, do you?
All the time.
Maybe too much.
Maybe I am while I am writing this sentence… maybe I just talk too much in general. But that’s beyond the point. Let’s move on, shall we?
A few years back, the “King of Web Standards” Jefrrey Zeldman wrote a really great article on the importance of web divisions within a given business. And, as Zeldman often does, he shed some light on one of the biggest “no-duh” parts of a great website. Amongst the other great points he makes, he throws out that, “…the web is a conversation. Marketing, by contrast, is a monologue….a monologue and a conversation is not the same, as an hour spent with your windy Uncle Randolph will remind you.” Read More