I watched the water come into our finished basement during Hurricane Irene. I don’t believe it—not again, I thought, as my husband and I quickly prioritized which of our remaining belongings from the last flood, only 17 months earlier, we wanted to salvage as the water rushed in. Thirty minutes later, the water stopped rising at four feet—a foot higher than the last time. My husband cautiously turned off the circuit breakers and determined whether the water had reached the gas line. I was seven months pregnant, so could help only by asking our less-affected neighbors for some assistance. The following weeks were all too familiar: filing a claim with our insurance, calling remediation experts to dry out the basement, calling plumbers for quotes to replace the hot water heater and boiler, calling electricians to replace outlets—the list went on and on. Throughout this entire experience, all we wanted was to get our house and lives back to normal. Read More
In the spring of 2020, more than a billion children were out of school worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many families, who were already adjusting to working remotely, scrambled to adapt to having their children at home as well. Parents had to learn to become teachers and technology experts, while also coping with a new work situation and local restrictions that changed their daily lives dramatically from what they’d known in the past.
The impact on kids of not being in school was broad and varied. In some areas, virtual learning was simply not an option because of limited finances or access to technology and the Internet. For families in such circumstances, the educational setbacks were devastating. For other families, with parents who were accustomed to working from home, who have flexible schedules, and who have access to devices and the Internet, the situation was frustrating, but manageable. I’m lucky to be part of that group of families for whom the spring school shutdown didn’t have severe impacts. Read More
If you’re like me, you have a mini-library of those user experience books that are most meaningful to you. No, not the ones hidden away on your eReader, reminding you of their presence only when you see their titles on the screen. Rather, I’m referring to those tangible books, sitting on your office bookshelf or on a side table at home. Perhaps some remind you of the time when you first entered the field of user experience, wanting to absorb everything about the topic. Or maybe everyone raves about a book as being seminal to the user experience discipline, but you keep the fact that you’ve never read it a secret. Regardless of why you have them, where they live, or how much you recall of their content, these books are important to who you are as a UX professional.
I’ve recently finished reading what is now the latest addition to my own professional mini-library: This Is Service Design Thinking, by Marc Stickdorn, Jakob Schneider, and numerous collaborators and co-authors. This book is likely to become the quintessential service design textbook for students, educators, and professionals alike. In this column, I’ll share highlights from the book, along with some of my own interpretations, and tell you why you should add this book to your own personal collection. Read More