— 21 December 2004 —

The User Experience Community is Thinking Just Right

Or: Sit down, shut up, and do your work.

First off, let me make you aware of my title: Ozymandias.

Secondly, a quick reminder: Sit down, shut up, and do your work.

Somebody hired you to do a job. Do that job. But knowing you as I know myself, you can’t help but do work that is considered by your organization to be “outside your role.” Do they get pissed when you do this? No? Hm, perhaps because you are good at what you do? Great. Go for it. Don’t like that you aren’t getting paid more for doing more work? Change that by either making a business case for more money, or stop doing more work.

Here’s what you own: the responsibility for delivering the work you promised to deliver. Now, in order to get that work done, more often than not, you need to deal with other people. Try being nice. If they show interest in what you do, let them tag along. Start key sentences with, “Hey, this might make your job easier…”

Want the world to take you more seriously? Start with the people with whom you work directly. If you add value, based on their subjective needs, then you are doing a great job.

Final point: There’s a big difference in how we all act, talk, and feel when we are in a room with “ux-related” people. In this arena, I encourage you to think big; bigger that you know is possible. Complain. Bitch. Navel gaze. Gaze at other people’s navels (with prior permission). Eat worms. Then, when you go back to your regular programming, sit down, shut up, and do your job.

The great thing about thinking big out-country is that there are many people coming into the “ux” field (and some who have been in a while) who still think it’s UCD or the highway. These people need to be attuned to the bigthink conversations. But when you are in-country, no one gives a shit what you do as long as it’s what they expect.

So you have a choice: do what they expect or change their expectations. Actually, many people will want to do both. Being Ozymandias, I have the luxury of always living in the “do what they expect” column.

And for my final curmudgeon-esque act for this post: Usability testing is boring. Boring, boring, boring.

Related: Too big & too small.

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