I love talking to users

Because they always surprise you.

Whenever I start a new job, I speak to whoever has hired me, normally higher management who give me an idea of the project, why they need me and where they think the project will go. Then, after a little settling down I'll get to speak to some real users, either external customers or internal system users and generally hear things completely opposed to what management have had in mind.

If it's an existing product, the users will already have a stack of work arounds and ideas they have to use or would like to see in any improvements. Often, these are work arounds to continue doing something which has been specifically forbidden by processes or higher ups.

For new systems, users will have a different idea of what "task complete" looks like than the original plan, they'll always want more information, or less, or have it phrased in a different way.

Essentially I'm saying the best part of my job is talking to people and really listening, the knowledge to build the right solution is already there, it just needs extracting.

Leaving social media - 7 weeks later.

Whilst aimlessly musing yesterday I realised that social media had totally fallen out of my consciousness. I no longer thought about either FB or TW, I no longer think in status updates, I don't see something and immediately note it as an interesting thing to add to my stream.

Concrete changes to my life:
* I spend more time in direct meaningful communication with my real friends. Letters, 500 word emails, texts. One to one, not the broadcasts of social media.
* I take less pictures.
* I have more time for everything but more tellingly -
* I can concentrate on things for much longer periods. We're still only talking 20 minutes but that's better than the 30 seconds I could do before.
* I'm not conscious of any gap in my life.

All in - I can recommend it, I'm genuinely happier. And I still get invited to parties.

There's a surprise coming to interrupt you.


There is a surprise coming toward you that you can't see. If it arrives and you've dealt with all of the things pulling on your psyche, you can be present and welcoming  to the opportunity. If you have 300 unprocessed emails to deal with and a surprise shows up you'll be annoyed at the interruption to your world. 

If there's a quiet moment, tidy a draw, bring yourself as close as possible to a state of total mindfulness where you can be free to bake that cake, teach that child because these loops, they keep pulling. 

The Human Layer - ipad magazine

The Human layer is probably the best magazine I have ever read on the ipad. 

The articles are focused, well written and knowledgable. The magazine is well designed, interactive and fits the medium without being weird. The subjects are varied and interesting. 

I believe they say they specialise in the digital world but don't let that hold you back from subscribing, you will be interested. There's a huge amount in there for UX guys like me, writers, producers, editors, product managers, all of you. 


Oh yes, it's free.  

And there are no adverts.