Are you wondering where I have been hiding? Me too!
I had some technical difficulties because my website got hacked. And because the main website was hacked, I lost access to my blog.
The good news is that I am up and running again… for now! The bad news is I lost all of the images that accompanied my blog posts. I am slowly trying to restore most of them. But some may never be replaced.
Never the less I learned a few valuable lessons from this experience:
- Back up your files. Sure I tend to think I save often. But backing up your files is just as important. And I really neglected to back things up.
- Know a great developer. My good friend Anita Cheng cleaned up my files an got me up and running again. I would not have a website again if not for her.
- Did I mention to back up your files?
Thanks for your patience. I will post more UX-related stuff soon.
I am happy to report surviving another Global Service Jam. So what is global service jam? Is it some sort of cook off? Are you making jam? What does service have to do with it?
The Global Service Jam is a non-profit volunteer activity organized by an informal network of service design afficinados, who all share a common passion for growing the field of service design and customer experience.
The website goes on the say
As a participant in the Global service jam, you will work through a whole design process in one weekend. Whether you are experienced or completely new to the field, you won’t just be talking about service design, you will be working with others on developing concrete ideas and designs which could become real.
- You will learn more about a design-based approach to problems, and about sustainability.
- You will pick up a load of new ideas and work practices.
- You will meet a lot of cool people at all levels of experience.
- Your work and ideas will be reviewed by your peers, and presented to the world, where they can be seen by potential customers or employers, or people who could make them real.
- You will design something that may become a real business.
- You might get rich and famous.
- You will certainly have a blast.
And have a blast I did! It is exhilarating, exhausting, energizing and exciting. I get to participate in activities I don’t normally get to at work. I get to collaborate with complete strangers, who become friends through a weekend of intense team work. I get to flex some UX muscle, and keep skills sharp. I get to explore new ideas and learn about new skills like Service Design Blueprint and Business Modal Canvas. I know it might seem crazy to give up an entire weekend for an activity like this. But I think it is fun and I am always up for a challenge.
When riding home one evening in the back of an Uber car, I took advantage of a situation. Sure, I could have sit back quietly and enjoyed the ride in silence. The driver did not have the radio on, so it could have been a peaceful ride.
Instead, I decide to make the ride a bit more interesting. Don’t worry, I was not going to engage in anything illegal. I decided to engage the driver in a conversation. Gasp! Talk to a stranger in Los Angeles? What? Who does that??? Well, I do.
You see, I am a gal from the Midwest. People from that part of the world are not afraid to engage in a conversation. In fact, this art form was eloquently taught to me by my father. I can recall on several instances the following circumstance: I am in a long line for an amusement park ride. My dad is waiting for me outside the ride on a bench until I am finished. By the time I get back from the ride, my dad has had a long chat with the person sitting next to him on that bench. I didn’t even notice the person when I started to get on the ride.
So what was happening here? My dad was a very smart man, and knew that having a conversation would help pass the waiting time. He didn’t want to read a book because he liked to people watch. These were the days before smart phones. So he wold strike up a chat with a complete stranger.
Not only did a conversation like this pass the time, he also learned something. And that is what I am trying to promote here. Instead of looking down and checking your smart phone, strike up a conversation with a stranger. What was so magical about the conversations my dad would have with strangers is what he learned about the other person. He would say things like, “That guy lived just a couple of blocks down from where I grew up in New York. And our parents when to the same social hall for dances and parties.” Or he would say, “The lady I sent next to on my flight is the inventor of body glitter.”
What do you do to learn more? Just start a conversation. I know this is not easy for some people. Striking up a conversation with a complete stranger can be terrifying. But if you want to be a UX designer, you have to break out of your shell and learn how to be comfortable in a conversation with others. It’s ok, the (probably) won’t bite.
- Start the conversation small, maybe make a comment about the weather or the current surroundings.
- Or ask a generic question about something you “seem like” you need assistance with like the time the the store is closing or do they if know….
- Maybe you can make a comment out the phone they are looking at. Ask, “Oh is that the new iPhone? Do you like it?” People love to talk about their gadgets.
- Gage the person’s reaction, if they give you a short answer, they might not want to chat. See how negative they seem.
- If they ask you a question back, it’s a good sign they might want to have a conversation.
- If a person is reading a book or has earphones on, this is a sign they might not want to talk to you. But if they are just gazing at their phone, they are probably just killing time.
- Don’t get too personal. But it’s ok to ask what they do for a living and what they do in that type of job.
- Just remember that people love talking about themselves, and the point of this exercise is to learn, so let the person do a majority of the talking.
- Be brave, learn to read others and be safe.
- But most importantly have fun and embrace the opportunity to learn from every experience.
- First, I learned that it is very difficult to write one entry on exactly every single day. So yes I did cheat a bit and write more than one entry a day to play catch-up on days that I missed. Don’t kill me.
- Second, though many of the principles I was already familiar with, it was good for me to write them down and work harder at committing them to memory and learning.
- Third, its rather nice to have all of these little lessons, from lists, the definitions to UX quotes all in one small UX journal.
- Finally, now that my experimental deadline has been successfully met, I plan on continuing to full out my UX journal of learning. My notebook is less than half full, so there are plenty of other pages I can fill with valuable UX lessons and content.
Let the learning continue!
What is Cymbolism?
Yes that is a good question. Cymbolism is a tool that attempts to quantify the association between colors and words, making it simple for designers to choose the best colors for the desired emotional effect.
Go to http://cymbolism.com and start to cast your vote. It is interesting to see how your interpretation of a term compares to what others think. For some I was in the majority, voting like most others. And for other words, I was completely off. No right or wrong answers here. Just have fun.
I have taken on a new task. I am challenging myself to keep a little notebook of items I learn for 100 days. The toughest thing will be remembering to enter an item every day. I sure hope I don’t miss a day. But if I do, then I will force myself to carry one until I get all 100 days — or until my notebook gets full. Whichever happens first. I encourage you to take the same challenge. Maybe it’s a notebook of doodles, or a notebook of learning a new word every day. Encourage yourself to take a moment every day to learn.
I am honored and humbled to say that I have reached a milestone for myself. I have earned the following of over 300 people. Now, I know that could fall back below 300 at any time. You know how it goes…. But I am going to enjoy the moment even if it doesn’t last forever.
Do you want to follow me too? I would be ever so delighted. You can join the fun at https://twitter.com/jnblatz. Come over and say “Hi.” Let’s have a conversation and maybe learn a bit from each other.
300 Followers! Yay!! Thank you!!!
I found this graphic in a post written by Megan Wilson on her blog, UX Motel. I really thought it was interesting, though someone difficult to read. Do you spin your computer around or spin your head around? Forget about looking at it on mobile. Nevertheless, this is fun to look at isn’t it?
So many designers can relate to this information graphic about less than desirable clients. Sigh….