Things what I writ

I sometimes write nonsense about things to try and sound clever

In UX, there isn’t an everything

At the Lightning UX event in London a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to share the stage with some very clever people talking about designing for mobile. Except that I wasn’t talking about designing for mobile. I happened to be the speaker who forgot to read the brief. So I talked, lightning style, about something completely different

I chose to speak about the hopelessness of trying to keep up with new and re-invented user experience methods and practices. As UX further develops and evolves, it can sometimes seem that every week it attempts to eat itself.

As a UX professional with a relatively long service, this can be difficult to keep up with, especially when you’re just trying to do some work. For any relative newcomer to the profession, this must be like trying to herd cats blindfolded, whilst everyone in your Twitter timeline is riding around on fixed-gear bicycles, shouting at you about which cat you should herd.

UX Method Interpolation Theory

So to help me make appropriate decisions about what to do and when, I’ve developed by own UX Method Interpolation Theory.

In short, in UX, there are too many methods and too little time. Simply choosing the right methods at the right times is a reasonable strategy. In practice, if I’m feeling left behind with new methods or practices that I’m expected to know, I tell myself this:

  • You don’t have to know everything
  • You’ll never know everything
  • And actually, as far as UX goes, there isn’t, and probably never will be, an everything

Thankfully, I don’t have to go into great detail here, because, as usual, the Lightning UX folks recorded the whole thing and, if you’re inclined, you can give up 6:45 minutes of your time to see what I had to say.

Without giving too much away, I won’t be able to give this presentation again. Which is a shame, since I hoped to see some hands go up.

Ride the lightning

Notwithstanding a pithy reference to a metal experience that reminds me of the second half of the vinyl rack at the record shop where I used to work, tonight I rode the lightning at the event that uses the name but in no way conjures up images of axes and diminished 3rds because it’s got UX at the end and so rather suggests there might be crumpers and iphones and projectors and bottles of water and stuff which there was, for tonight was lightning UX and I spake of random percentages, gears of fear and communicating only through michael jackson thriller dance moves. There may have also been occasional references to mobile wallet design challenges amongst which and of I mused upon that included cognition of conceptual architectures, complicated contexts of use, and user confidences in and around the whole bloody wallet thing what they don’t even get ffs. Grrr.

I was, however, merely one of the peas in a UX pentapod that had been popped forth to live and breathe the warm air of a university basement and deliver a missive so sweet that it must just be our very last thing we do in a 10 minute burst looked upon by the sparkling eyes of the eversokeen. Within the delicate constraints of the framework – like rolling down the grassy hill of a summer’s day, passing the baton of freshly plucked UX grass between us like it might be the day all summery rolling down hill baton-passing days might be like – the five of us took that which was close to our hearts and set it into the ether upon the wings of hope where, in my case, it kind of crashed about a bit in a series of profane outbursts vaguely resembling a topic whereupon it flew too close to the flame of relevance and singed it’s little wings a bit.

In other words, I talked some stuff about designing mobile wallets and I made a lot of numbers up and the four others speakers on the bill were very good and actually when we opened it up to questions that got quite interesting and if anybody wants to ask me about the perception of flawed security models in the deployment of mobile payment frameworks or how you draw a thing which says PAY NOW then I’m more than happy to follow up with you. Point your stick toward @timcaynes. Come see me at the IA summit. I am UX.