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July 8, 2015
How User Experience Affects Your Career
 
Don’t you hate it when you run into a user experience problem? Like when a door has an ambiguous handle on it and unclear labeling. The absolute seemingly minor things can have consequences. If someone were in a rush, they might accidently swing it the wrong way and injure someone, or themselves.

Perhaps you’ve been there. Done that.

Sometimes clear signage can be the solution to minor issues like this. Other times it takes a little more thinking, especially in the digital world.

How many times have you been on a website that leads to dead ends without any escape? In these cases you're forced to use the back button — well, if it even works, that is. Maybe it’s a designer that, in a rush to meet the deadline, forgot to re-examine the site map. Or a client so focused on their launch date that common sense took a back seat to deadline. They forget to address the end users’ needs and only focus on their business goal of selling more do-hickies.

OK. Since this is not an article about signage or user experience or sales of do-hickies, I suppose I should get to my point.

Increasingly, we live in a culture obsessed with obtaining results. With optimizing speeds. With getting to the bottom of the article as fast as humanly possible.

It may be a minor annoyance, like being bombarded with Christmas merchandise too early in the year. Maybe it’s justified in that it will increase stock that quarter, but when the customer leaves with a bad taste in their mouth, it may not be serving your longer-term branding.

These days, no one seems to be immune to the issue. Even experts at user-focused design companies as large as Apple have run into snafus. In the rush to get to market they make decisions that on the surface help user experience. For example, they may make it easier to download music, but in doing so they may have forgotten to ask if we want that particular download.

Sometimes all it requires to get back on track is to slow down, adjust your auto-update preferences, and take yourself off of auto-pilot.

Remember to look at it from the end user’s perspective.

As demands and expectations increase, so do the chances of us taking shortcuts.

So next time you feel yourself rushing to get that next job search email sent or you’re tempted to send that freelance query letter before it’s ready, hit publish on your next social posting...or submit your next Talent Zoo article, slow down for just a second and ask yourself — does this iteration still make sense?

Is my audience going to appreciate the choices we’ve made or have we made choices that help us at their expense? Have we gone off track?

I can’t guarantee these tips will open doors for you, but taking the critical step of slowing down to consider user experience may avoid getting the door slammed in your face.

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Peter Bossio is an Associate Creative Director/Art Director. He graduated from Syracuse University's Advertising Design program and attended intensive film/video production at Tisch School of the Arts. Peter has been a guest speaker at NYU School of Professional Studies and is president of his local Toastmasters Club. Want to connect with him? You'll likely find him on twitter @PeterBossio in a salsa club or at www.peterbossio.com.
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