Ever since I was little, I’ve avoided uncomfortable moments in movies. I would always fast forward through the parts where the characters I liked put themselves in uncomfortable or embarrassing positions. I still do that today. In general, most people avoid uncomfortable situations in real life, but we all have our strategies for dealing with them.
Just this morning, I had an uncomfortable encounter with a shoeshine guy at the airport. After exchanging the usual pleasantries, he proceeded to talk to me about his religious beliefs in excruciating detail. At this juncture, I had several options. I could have asked him to stop. However, that would have immediately changed the interaction between the two of us from a friendly service encounter to one of frosty silence. I could have faked interest and engaged with him on this topic—something I’d have a hard time doing in my personal life. I could have chosen to let this annoy me. However, getting my shoes shined is one of my personal pleasures, and the context was all wrong for going down this path. Read More
I have been a UX consultant, in one form or another, for about 15 years now. After 15 years of doing the same thing, I have a decent amount of experience to look back and reflect on, so it seems a good time to examine where I’ve been and where I might want to go as a UX consultant.
If I were honest with myself, I would have to say that, out of those 15 years, I’ve considered myself to be a great UX consultant in maybe only the past five years or so. Admitting that makes me realize that I would also like to explore and articulate how UX consultants go from good to great. This is a question that I get a lot from others. So, over my next few columns, I’ll explore this topic in greater depth. In Part 1 of this series, I’ll discuss some myths about what makes a UX consultant great. A big part of understanding what makes a great UX consultant great is understanding what deficiencies hinder greatness. Read More
There are few hard and fast rules in consulting. Variances in our customers, projects, engagement models, and other factors all contribute to there being a significant amount of breadth and depth in what we do. This, in turn, requires us to be flexible in our methods and the deliverables we produce. But one hard and fast rule that does exist—at least in my world of consulting—is this: It does not matter if you are right. It matters that you are helpful.
As a consultant, when you ensure that everything your do for and with your clients aids them in achieving their business strategy, you also enable their providing a world-class user experience and, thus, ensure your own success. Luckily for all UX professionals and our profession, more organizations than ever are rapidly embracing the concept that the experience is the business strategy. This change is occurring because these companies are recognizing that they need to flawlessly conceive and execute their product and service experiences to solidify their place in the marketplace—whether to sustain a leadership position or move into a leadership spot. Read More