Hello fellow readers (all 5 of you anyway LOL). If you follow me on Twitter, you would know that I am a big Jeremy Lin fan. I mean, I even named my first born son, "Jeremy" (not kidding). Anyhow, I am now also a writer on JeremyLintel.com, a website dedicated to providing intelligent discussion and insight on the heavily polarized 2012 sensation Asian American NBA player Jeremy Lin. If you are at all interested, head over there and read my new published article or click here: http://wp.me/p40mo3-is
My son decided to mess up my sleeping schedule by staying up all weekend and then decided to sleep through the night. The result? Though physically fatigued from sleep deprivation, I found myself wide-eyed, staring at my ceiling, pondering about "stuff". Out of that pondering came the idea for evaluating what I really do (for the umpteenth time) and topic for a new post on this site. So without further ado, here is my quick scan of the "Anatomy" of a UX professional.
1. We see through the eyes of a 'pragmatic' designer
Incongruity, broken patterns, and misalignment bother us. Visuals that not only stir the senses, but are also with defined rules and hierarchy make us happy.
2. We think in 'code' literally and not literally
Literally, we understand technology and the languages, systems, frameworks and programs that govern what's possible. Not literally, we prefer to approach problems and methodically find solutions both heuristically and logically.
3. We listen and internalize communication like a 'psychiatrist'
To our users/consumers/customers, we are empathetic to how they experience a software/product/service. We welcome feelings of frustration, distraught, or worse - indifference; because it creates challenges for us to change them into those of empowerment, clarity and excitement. To our clients/stakeholders/bosses, we are your common sense consultants, we know what keeps you up at night, but are relentless in 'tactfully' persuading you to champion your users/consumers/customers and invest in long-term strategies that yield sustainable improvements to the bottom-line; and avoid conceding to the temptations of revenue 'band aids'.
4. We speak with the voice of (cheer) leaders
Our team members are everything to us. The visionary blueprints that we draw are only as good as the people who help mold and execute those plans. We strive to remind others of the importance of their work and the impact the end-product will potentially have on end-users. We lead by keeping the energy up and flowing through each designer, project manager, developer, analyst, strategist and tester.
5. We have the heart of an architect
Our passion lies in planning and designing constructs that solve business challenges and empower people. We love to create environments that deliver meaningful and practical experiences. User and business problems are ingredients to us for devising recipes.
Often times I sign my emails with my favorite quotes. A practice that has trended since the advent of email. Of course, like many others, I have used Bruce Lee's many famous quotes. Amongst these is "be like water", which for many of my friends have become the de-facto representation for the type of philosophy that I frequently preach or stand for.
A few days ago, a very good friend of mine asked me what it means to "be like water":
"What is the difference between that and being a person with no substance or backbone. A person that is never true to themselves, dependable or trustworthy, because that personl change depending on the way the wind blows?"
I thought this was especially intriguing because, quite honestly, I never thought of it that way and after some pondering I wrote a reply that I wanted to share here in case I forget one day =)
"The philosophy was for kungfu. But if you harp on the translation of "go with the flow" as it applies to life, then that's a bit oversimplified. It's more about adapting for the better. Taking in what could be negative and converting it into something positive. Not going "head-on", but truly absorbing a conflicting force, channeling it and then transforming it back into responding energy. Applied to day-to-day challenges then would be, as an example, in the face of set-backs or criticism, like water flowing into a cup or teapot instead of resisting, one would take it in, reflect and come back with an evolved perspective. This is contrary to wallowing in anguish from a set-back or stubbornly defending your stance against criticism without fully absorbing it. You are not betraying pride or being insipid. You are allowing yourself to consider the differences. You are not becoming "better" and you are not walking around a wall. You are expanding your mind by accepting that the wall is there."