The Best Example of User Experience in Real Life

Big grass lawn

I heard this on a Podcast several years ago now but it has always stuck with me.

The Best example of User Experience in Real Life.

A brilliant architect was designing the new front outdoor landscape of a university. When it came time to plan the walkways through the grass the architect refused to and instead opted for grass to be put EVERYWHERE. Not knowing his brilliance, the administration let the mad scientist have his way. A year later the architect came back to find a perfectly worn path where people walked and now they knew precisely where to put the path.

A path is created

Moral of the story: don’t assume you know what people like, user testing is ten thousand times more reliable than “past experience”.

Don’t assume you know, assume others do and your job is to find out from them by observing and testing.

Your Privacy vs Being Accessible

Eric Schmidt quote on privacy

The new world is I’m Googling you the second you email me. I’m going to find everything I can about you. Google can find almost anything these days. I should be able to search your name and contact information and find all relevant information about you. I mean it’s 2014, you have to assume everyone is going to Google you at some point, right?

Now the privacy pundits will tell you to stay as anonymous as you can, as Lloyd Christmas once said, “lot of bad drivers out there!”. But REALLY, really?  How many people do you know who have been stalked?  Is that even still a thing?  We’re too concerned about privacy that we’re losing out on business opportunity.

I had a meeting booked with an organization, the night before the meeting I search the person I was meeting with on Google (I do this with a lot of people surprisingly) the only site other than LinkedIn said she was in Swift Current not Regina. I sent an email asking about her whereabouts, I receive nothing in return. I Googled the organization to find a phone number but there’ only a Regina contact. The “Contact Us” page had a form to fill out, no numbers. Finally I search for her email because for sure her phone number would be in the salutation at the bottom of the email right?  Wrong.

It was 30 minutes till a meeting with someone in another city that I had no number for, what would you do?

I didn’t make the meeting.

The lady called, she was upset. I didn’t mention the difficult time trying to find her contact info let alone a phone number. She didn’t want to hear what I had to say, her mind was made up.

I hate offending people. I don’t like upsetting people. I really try hard never to miss a meeting. By that time I think it was for the best. To help someone with social media when they won’t as much as publish a phone number is relatively impossible.

Answer the new phone. Be accessible, especially your workplace. Nothing says we hate our customers like not being able to find a phone number to call.

Google yourself. Google your company. Google your company name and “contact info”. See what comes up. If it isn’t exactly what your customers want then change it.

Oh yeah, how your customers find information about you will change, it will always change, it’s in your best interest to ask them periodically if you’re still providing information where it is most easily accessible.

How To Get People To Not Share Their Ideas With You

(dont)Poke the bear

Tell them they’re wrong. Tell them you have a better idea. Back up your idea with some made up evidence based on opinion. Make sure they know you’re smarter about whatever topic you’re talking about. That’ll work! That person will never want to share an idea with you again.

Every time you shut down someone’s idea it’s like poking a bear. Sure you can get away with it the first time and maybe the second, but sooner or later if you keep poking, the bear is going to eat you.

Don’t strive to be “right” in conversations, that’s your ego coming through. Be confident in yourself, so confident in fact that you let others be right. Then more and more you’ll find others wanting to share their ideas with you.

Get Used To Feeling Stupid. It’s a Sign of Growth.

Get Used to Feeling Stupid. It's a Sign of Growth - Julien Smith

I love that quote from Julien Smith.  As kids we don’t care about feeling stupid, we don’t care how others will react, we just approach problems with a clean slate. To a child there are no repercussions, that’s why they use their imagination so much. Somewhere between having a child like sense of wonder, and being a grumpy adult, we lose our imagination. Or as Hugh McLeod would say,

“Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.”

 

The real world eats away at us, older people are quick to call out ludicrous ideas, and unless they’ve heard about it before they don’t trust it.

School teaches us that being wrong is bad, you should listen to what you’re told, shut up, and sit still. That problem with that is, I’m 28, I STILL can’t sit still, I never do what I’m told and it’s still relatively impossible to shut me up.

So what happened to our world?

In her brilliant Ted talk on why it’s OK to be wrong, Kathryn Schultz tells a hilarious story on how she was wrong about a simple sign on the side of the highway.  But she reminds us that being wrong is fine, it’s a sign of growth. And we can never shy away from sharing how we truly feel. It’s those who are willing to risk being wrong that are going to make a difference in our world.

I coach volleyball, I’m also on the Regina Volleyball Club board as the coaches rep. I had a ball bag of another coaches and she emailed me to leave it in my backyard for her to pick up and exchange for the ball bag she had.
I put the bag in yard and a couple days go by. It hasn’t moved. A week goes by, it’s still there. And this was February in Regina so her bag was pretty much entirely covered in snow before I messaged her asking about why she’d neglected to pick up her bag nearly two weeks ago.

Her response: Jeph, I picked up my bag two weeks ago, I exchanged it with your bag. That’s your bag in the back yard covered in snow.

Me: Well don’t I feel like a horses patoot.

Go on, risk being wrong. And the next time you feel stupid, look at it as a good thing, you’re growing.

Stop Blaming Other People

I'm sorryWhen you blame someone else for something, no matter what it is, you’re protecting yourself from being wrong or at fault.

When you say you’re sorry and take ownership of the situation, the common misconception is that it makes you look weak or powerless. When actually, saying you’re sorry humanizes you and makes you more likeable.

It’s easy to blame others, it’s hard to blame ourselves.

Understanding this is imperative to you making it in this world. It’s a scary place out there and you need to have thick skin if you want to make it. You have to own up to your mistakes. Take responsibility for when things go wrong, don’t point out where others messed up, shut up and fix it yourself. If you get the reputation as the person who takes responsibility, who gets things done, and isn’t afraid of being wrong, you’re grooming yourself to be a leader.

When you blame others for something, it gives you nothing to do about it. Once you blame yourself, you now have something to work on. In the book Bounce it talks about how world class athletes sometimes feel lost when they win, because they have nothing they need to work on. The most successful athletes in the world are the ones constantly working to make something better.

Get in the habit of taking the blame, point the finger at yourself and don’t being afraid to fix a situation. People look up to others who get shit done. Especially in the world we live in, we all need to strive to take the blame more often.

It starts by not blaming others.

How To Think Like a Superhero by Robin Sharma

How to think like a superhero

 

I found this video that Robin Sharma had Tweeted the other day. It really is worth your time to watch. It’s called How To Think Like A Superhero.

Robin Sharma wrote one of my favorite books The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and the best selling The Leader Who Had no Title.

In the video he talk about thinking like a superhero. His thesis is that super successful people, CEOs, celebrities etc. aren’t more special than you or me but that they have a far superior work ethic than the average person. He says at one point that these successful people he’s interviewed and worked with can accomplish in a day what most people do in a month.

The secret to success is that there is no secret to success, there’s no way around it, you have to work hard at it. But if you do work hard, and focus on a goal, you will accomplish it.

You should pick up some Shwarma and sit down and read some Robin Sharma.

(Photo credit: http://fullmetalcynic.wordpress.com/2008/01/17/when-real-life-becomes-a-superhero-action-movie/)