Categories
Writing

Changing Careers to UX or UI? Here’s How to Get Hired with a Beginner Portfolio

Originally published on Medium.

When I meet design students studying UX and UI in organisations like General Assembly and Iron Hack, I often get asked the same question: if I only have 2–3 student projects in my portfolio, how could I be a competitive hire?

Here are a few things we’ve discussed that I’d like to share for the benefit of anyone else out there who’s in the same situation:

You have skills and value beyond your design experience

Organisations like General Assembly and Iron Hack largely attract students who are studying design as a career change. In our most recent trip to meet graduates at Iron Hack Barcelona, we met ex-marketing managers, business owners, creative directors, teachers, HR professionals, project managers and the list goes on.

When you change careers into a new field, you may be a junior in that field but you bring with you a wealth of experience that is an asset to the company that ends up hiring you.

Teaching someone how to design a navigation structure for an iOS app is far easier and less risky than attempting to teach someone teamwork, communication, listening skills, professionalism, patience and the ability to deal with ambiguity.

You can bring your value to life by:

  • When interviewing, highlighting skills and experience you bring that make you an asset to a team and remember that your worth is measured beyond your immediate technical design skills.
  • Asking questions about the business, the team, and the needs of your future manager and offering your input on how you’d benefit them
  • Researching their values and ways of working and being prepared with examples from your work experiences outside of design that align with them
You can supplement beginner portfolios with other parts of your life

Aka “If I am also a photographer, should I include my photography portfolio?”

The answer is yes. Bring the fields in which you have significant expertise or passion (hopefully both!) into your portfolio. If they are strongly linked to the position you are seeking, consider leaving those previous projects in your design portfolio and highlighting how your skills and thinking are informed by this experience (furniture designers, creative directors, print/advertising and other designers — I’m looking at you!).

If your passions are less directly relevant, include additional sections in your portfolio that showcase your journalism, jewellery design, cooking, photography, or whatever else it is that makes you a well-rounded and passionate creative. This will set you apart from other designers, show work ethic and commitment, and give you plenty to discuss in your interview.

You don’t need experience to have a valuable opinion

When I applied for my first full-time UX job, I had one client project and one made up passion project under my belt. But I had plenty of knowledge and ideas that informed the way I approached my work in the first year of being a junior designer.

The trick is to get what’s in your head clear and visible to hiring managers to expose them to the nuance and complexity that your portfolio doesn’t yet showcase. Here are a few ideas, in order of effort:

  • Add a link to your Medium reading list on your website/portfolio
  • Retweet design thinking and articles that you agree with, and include a short commentary in your tweet
  • Attend UX and Design events and publish your response / highlights
  • Write short pieces about common UX problems you see in products around you and how you would solve them
    Solve them
  • Write articles responding to trends and events in the tech industry (or the industry in which you hope to work)
  • If you are self-taught and are not coming out a programme like Iron Hack, find ways to produce case studies: competitions, hackathons, volunteering, or plain old mock projects will do until you get more experience under your belt

The aim should be clear: show a hiring manager, your future manager, or your future company your passion, insight and your ability to take ownership of problems around you. Not every senior designer does the same.

Remember: companies aren’t doing you a favour (on the contrary!)

It’s absolutely normal to feel nervous when searching for a job. When I spent 9 months teaching myself UX in my parents’ kitchen, watching my savings dwindle and receiving rejection after rejection, it was a difficult time.

It’s easy to think “Would someone just please give me a break, anyone?” and to feel in awe and eager to impress anyone who appears that they might.

As Head of UX & Design in a tech company who sees dozens of portfolios a week, I know better than to think companies are doing candidates a favour in hiring them. When I am looking to hire, there are several business reasons that inform a need to find the right candidate. It also comes as a cost.

Looking for candidates, interviewing, and eventually hiring and training a new employee is costly for a business. As a result, people who do hiring are heavily invested in (and often worried about) finding the right person for a role and to do it quickly.

When you’re in a job interview setting, remember: both you and the person on the other side of the desk have something at stake if this goes poorly. When I interview someone, I hope and pray that the interview goes well and that we have found our next team member. And while it’s a part of my job, it’s always a disappointment when that isn’t the case.

In Summary

Come into your next interview excited, prepared, and naturally a little nervous but feel free to have the confidence that you have much to offer.

When changing careers and beginning a new journey in UX or Design, don’t feel that you must draw a line behind your previous experiences. They are what make you the valuable team member that companies are looking for. The rest can be taught and earned with a bit of sweat.

Categories
Reflections

How the Apple Watch Cured My iPhone Addiction

(Originally published on Medium)

When I first saw the Watch announcement during last year’s Apple keynote, I nearly teared up. Another device that would litter my mind with notifications, buzzing, and a constant need for attention, I thought. I had been struggling to break my iPhone dependency for months and nothing was working. The last thing I needed was a mini-iPhone on my wrist.

I wasn’t always an iPhone addict. Before the year 2000, I didn’t have a computer at home. My childhood and early adolescence were spent playing with friends, inventing and building my own games, and spending time outdoors. I loved to read and I loved to draw. My first desktop computer introduced me to a new form of magic: having every color I could ever imagine in Photoshop 5 (I know!). At that time, I was allotted one hour of ‘Internet Time’ on Friday afternoons. A year later, I was building websites in HTML (using tables!). Two years later, I landed my first design client through the family grapevine. Five years later, I was working part-time as a freelance visual designer (using my first Macbook Pro). Twelve years later, I got hired as a full-time UX designer. The day I started that job, I got my first iPhone.

Things deteriorated quickly. I was using my phone before bed, while waking up, while in the toilet, while cooking, during dinners, and during intimate conversations. Eventually, there was one loud argument (slash intervention) by my best friend and my boyfriend in a Vietnamese restaurant. I was angry. It’s not that I was addicted, per se. I just spent a lot of time using my phone. But the app Moment, which I installed on my phone to prove I didn’t have a problem, told me that my average total daily iPhone use added up over two hours.

On my worst day, I spent 7 hours and 41 minutes on my iPhone.

As a UX designer and qualitative researcher, this was not only alarming but also fascinating. I wanted to know what it was that kept hooked on my phone. I researched mobile phone addiction (it sounded dramatic), I tried a 30-day-off-Facebook challenge (but still clocked considerable time on my phone). I also spoke with others. It appeared that many felt equally drawn to their smartphones but no one quite understood why.

Then came the Watch.

Everything changed when I got my Apple Watch. Within twenty-four hours of wearing it, I forgot where my iPhone was for the first time. A week into owning it, I now leave my phone plugged into my music player when I get home and keep it in my bag while outside.

So what changed? And, more importantly, why?

 

Read the rest on Medium: https://medium.com/@grinblo/how-the-apple-watch-cured-by-iphone-addiction-e57cd7217039

Categories
Methods

Giving Context for iOS Permissions

Have you ever launched a newly-downloaded app and automatically tapped “Don’t Allow” on a cluster of notifications just so you can get to the meat of it?

Apparently you’re not alone.

The problem: users automatically deny app permissions. Some of the most useful native mobile capabilities depend on user permissions. Apple requires us to ask for explicit permission to use a user’s contacts, location, camera, and to send them push notifications. The most common way of doing this is to pop up an alert asking for permission to use native capabilities but users commonly ignore them.

There is a low ceiling to improving standard alerts. Apple give us space to improve the copy inside the alert, making it more friendly and informative. Unfortunately, this doesn’t solve the main problem: users get trigger-happy and deny permissions without thinking much about it.

The key solution is: get users to give you access the first time. Reversing a decision to deny permission requires the user to exit your app and change settings elsewhere. Most won’t do this, forever blocking native capabilities and features that depend on them.

There are options to consider. Co-founder and designer at Cluster, Brenden Mulligan wrote a brilliant piece detailing alternatives to the standard alerts. Among them:

  • Explaining the benefits in the app UI before asking for permissions
  • Using an additional iOS dialogue for a pre-permission
  • Custom UI for ducational pre-permission overlays
  • The most successful (up to 100%!): user-triggered dialogues

Jump, the new iOS app for London busses* is a great example of the first method. During the initial tour, the app mentions the benefit of finding bus stops nearby, and shows the location services dialogue after a few seconds.

Jump-permissions
The way Jump asks to use location services.

The key is giving users context. Asking for permissions without warning can seem like a spammy interruption.

The most exciting tactic used by Brenden in Cluster is the user-triggered dialogues. In this example, Cluster ask for access to the Contacts app just when the user tries to add people in the app – in other words, just when contacts access would make their life that much easier.

Cluster asking for permissions
The way Cluster asks to use Contacts. Originally from Medium.

 

The genius is in waiting for a user action to trigger the dialogue in context. This way, asking for permissions is a tool to complete an action the user has already initiated. Why haven’t we been doing this all along?

For more details on all the ways you can make permissions better in your app read the full post by @Mulligan on Medium

 

*Congratulations to our friends Ryan and Adam from The Noble Union, and Future Workshops alum Marco for your great work on Jump!

 

Related reading:

iOS Human Interface Guidelines for accessing user data

Efficient App Communication by Luis Abreau

 

 

Categories
Events Methods Research

Usability testing is all practice, not magic

I just returned from Westminster Hub where I ran a workshop called “Usability Testing How To’s for Small Teams (and Little Budgets). The workshop is based on my experience setting up the usability testing arm at Future Workshops. As one UX person with fifteen developers, I learned a lot about getting by on a tight timescale.

The group of attendees tonight was great! I was so impressed with how eagerly everyone learned, and how natural they were at facilitating tests. A few things that came up in the discussions were very insightful, and echoed a lot of my experiences running usability tests:

It can be done (today!)

As one of the workshop participants cleverly concluded, there’s no magic involved. Usability testing can be done with more budget, more time, more trained staff, better recruitment, better equipment. The question is whether it’s done at all. It’s entirely possible to hold cheap and quick usability tests and still learn a lot. There wasn’t one group during the workshop that didn’t discover a serious usability problem in just one hour!

Soon after the test part of the workshop began, I started hearing familiar sighs across the room. Cringing soon followed, and then hushed group conversations about things to definitely put in the fixes list. Some attendees had never done usability testing before but were able to facilitate a test and find useful results right away. It can be done!

Workshop photos on Flickr
Instructing a test participant on her first scenario – all smiles so far!
Workshop photos on Flickr
Testing a website with a very specific audience group

It’s hard to stay quiet

Facilitating a test well takes some practice. It always sounds easy on paper, but as the workshop participants quickly realized – theory is different from practice. It’s tough sitting across from a person and watching them struggle with an interface without interfering.

I recognized a lot of the questions from when I was first learning how to facilitate: when do we interrupt the participant? What do we do when they get stuck? How do we ask questions without leading? My formula: if they’re not upset, stay quiet. If they are, tell them something nice.

Challege: DIY recruiting with a specific audience

When a website or app have very specific audience characteristics, recruiting can be a pain. So what do we do? One of the work groups decided to test their own product: a website with data on how many people are killed in drone attacks in conflict areas. They had to make due with participants from the rest of the group attending.

The key for them was setting the right context. A real user would be knowledgable and motivated to find out about drone attacks. To simulate this, they asked participants to read an article about the issue, mentioning their website, and gave them specific instructions on what information to look for. They discovered some usability problems to fix in the process.


There will be another run of this workshop on 22 January, 2014 in London. Would love to see you there!

Meanwhile, my slides are on SlideShare: http://slidesha.re/1aIB9CU

And some photos on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/grinblo/10466409794

Categories
Empathy Principles Research

What Having a Spaceship in Your Closet Has to Do With User Experience

Originally posted on Medium.

When I was a kid, I used to play a lot of pretend.

I had a detective’s office, a spaceship, a courtroom, a school, a halfway house for distressed teens, a tax office, a secretly-trained assassins’ bureau, a chemistry lab, a movie production studio, a radio station, and a doctor’s office.

Adults told me I had a great imagination, and my friends enjoyed playing with me. We left our 8-year-old bodies and became nurses, judges, detectives, and talk show hosts. In our play, we were made to feel, act, and speak differently from the way we would in our real lives.

We went through great lengths to make everything as realistic as possible. The spaceship was perhaps our most distinguished effort. My friend, Hadas, and I worked tirelessly on it while my mother was at work. We used a roll of aluminium foil we had purchased with our pocket money and taped it to the inside walls of a closet which was used to store winter clothes.

We printed the astronomy section of a CD-ROM encyclopedia and stored the pages inside a foil “computer” that spit out useful information about the planets on which we landed. Irresponsibly, we attached a desk lamp to the ceiling of my closet and sat in the terrible heat as we escaped into space and into our missions.

Naively, we thought these objects and environments made our games real. We worked hard to collect all the necessary props: stamps, forms, hacked school boards, stationery, fax machines, and tape recorders. When we grew up and started using all these objects at our real, grown-up jobs, we realized it was nothing like we’d imagined it to be.

This is because, during play, we set our own constraints and decided our own rules. In the “real world,” we had to do things that were useful for the job, not just the things that were interesting or enjoyable. Working in an office was nothing like playing, neither was being a teacher, and especially not doing taxes.

So what does this have to do with user experience?

Guessing how to design or build something for someone else is like pretending to be a nurse or a detective. When we mentally try to put ourselves in the shoes of our users, we are still us. We can try our best to imagine their experiences and needs, but we will always be free to choose the parameters we think apply to those experiences.

During a recent research project, I was interviewing people about the process of deciding where to go out on weekends. We thought this would be really simple. After all, how much complexity can be involved in rounding up some friends to share a cocktail or a game of bowling?

I was entirely unprepared for what I was going to hear. When I asked one woman how she plans get-togethers with family, she told me a story I could never have imagined myself. She lives in a community of a dozen, non-English-speaking family members, who rely on her to arrange how they spend their free time together. Planning family activities is one of her core roles in her family, she told me.

Each outing is a project she proudly orchestrates: she finds a place that would be interesting to the children who are coming (depending on their age), she takes into account the financial situation of everyone attending, she phones in advance if the group is getting larger. She also keeps a vast mental and physical collection of future outing ideas. “I take great pride in knowing I’ve set up an enjoyable time for everyone who came,” she told me, “everyone in my family relies on me to organize our time together.”

Her role in her family and community was tied to what I could only imagine as a frivolous activity, or an afterthought. Without speaking with her, I would continue to make product decisions based on that universe of assumptions. And I would be wrong.

Our imagination is grounded in who we are. Sure, child play and business assumptions share only a thin thread of similarity. But imagination works all the same: it transports us from one corner of our mind to another. It cannot transport us into the minds of others with any accuracy we can rely on.

The only way to truly understand the constraints, emotions, philosophies, and behaviors that guide our users is to get in touch with them: speak with them, observe them at work or play, and seek to find out how they’re different from us.

Otherwise, with the best of intentions, we’re only pretending to design for others.

 

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/moominmolly/5201167581

Categories
Empathy

What Norway’s Taxi-Driving PM Can Teach Us About Empathy

In a world where CEOs place reports before conversation, and decisions about customer service are based on statistically-significant surveys, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg rides around Oslo pretending to be a taxi driver just so he can talk to his citizens.

There’s more to this effort than meets the eye. Even if the ultimate goal were to generate positive publicity for the next round of elections, the act of putting himself in the shoes of a taxi driver may have a bigger impact than Stolenberg realized. In addition to the benefits of a face-to-face conversation, this setting alters the usual power dynamic between the Prime Minister and his people.

This change in the power dynamic is key. By choosing a role as a service provider, Stoltenberg reduced the amount of power and authority he had in each interaction. Researchers at the Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario found evidence to show that when people feel less power, their capacity toward empathy increases.

One of the most powerful empathy tools our brain has at its disposal is the mirror system. It’s powerful because it allows us to feel and think like someone else based on observing them. This is because the same mirror neurons fire in the brain when we take an action and when we observe someone else take the same action. This makes face-to-face interactions far more effective for empathizing with, and understanding, others. This system is believed to be responsible for feeling similar emotions but also understanding the thoughts processes and intentions of people we come into contact with.

But feeling powerful inhibits the mirror system system. If a person feels she is in a position of power relative to others around her, she is less equipped to understanding them and feel empathy toward them. When the Wilfrid Laurier University researchers put their participants in a state of feeling powerful, the mirror system was a lot less active. The opposite was also true: participants who felt powerless exhibited a lot more empathy on a neurological level.

Therefore, the Norwegian PM was probably in a much better position to truly hear and empathize with his people’s words than he would have been had he met them at his office.

We could also think about ways this applies to user experience: how can we use this concept of power dynamics to help our clients, stakeholders, and colleagues to empathize more readily with users? At Future Workshops, we are big fans of client workshops in which we ask participants to sketch user journeys, present their ideas, and accept critique from others. Perhaps there’s a lot more science to our method than we realized.

Image credit: BBC

Categories
Methods

Book Review: UX Team of One by Leah Buley

UX Team of One by Leah Buley has been with me since my first steps in the world of UX.

Last year, I had the chance to read a draft of the book and give Leah my comments. Back then, I was finding my feet as a self-taught UX practitioner (as a Sociology, ethnographic research, and visual design mixed-breed). The book was a life saver. I have now read it a second time, after working as the sole UX practitioner at Future Workshops for a year and a half. Below are my impressions from a year’s journey with UX Team of One:

From ideology to career building blocks

UX Team of One isn’t just a manifesto. This book is a practical guide, fueled by inspiring theory. The introduction touches on the basics of UX but only to set up the meatier parts of the book, which offer step-by-step instructions to many of the important methods in the user-centered design toolkit.

It is also immensely encouraging. UX Team of One encourages you to take the full responsibility that comes with caring about user experience. It’s not just full of product-focused methods but also tips on getting stakeholder buy-in, handling project constraints, thinking through business considerations and other “real world” concerns.

Aside from useful methods, the book is full of some unexpected gems:

  • How to respond to common objections to UX (my personal nemesis: “but we already know what needs to be done.”)
  • Tips on growing your career, not just your toolkit. Things like making each engagement ready for success, time management, professional organizations, and resources for further education.
  • Bargaining power. Each approach and method are backed up with benefits, reasoning, and case studies that help you understand when to use it and how to sell it to your boss, client, and colleagues.

The practical stuff

Leah Buley’s User Experience Team of One is packed with practical methods. Practical in the sense that they are actually possible to use. Each method Leah recommends is light on time and budget, easy to maintain, and is inclusive of your colleagues, clients, and peers. One of the key skills the book helped me develop is carefully considering the fit of each possible method based on its expected outcomes. It’s a great lesson in prioritizing.

How to make the best of UX Team of One

To get a first mental imprint of what’s inside, I recommend reading the book once swiftly. From then on, you can use it as a reference in your day-to-day work. I’ve used it as a checklist, a refresher for the methods I’d heard about but never used, a way to compare and contrast different approaches, and even a guide to explain a new activity to a boss or a colleague.

UX Team of One showed me how I could make things work within massive constraints. But it also pushed me to want to do more, grow my confidence, spread the word about UX, and keep improving. It’s realistic and idealistic at the same time – a rare gift in life and in design literature.

If I could marry a book…

Where other books felt like a foreign collection of methods, User Experience Team of One felt like a blueprint for my own journey. With this book, Leah Buley guided me as I turned my passion and varied range of skills into a focused UX practice. In the process, I discovered my own perspective and an approach that fit my unique work context. With her help, I became a UX Team of One within a supportive, user-centered team of many.

UX Team of One book page on Rosenfeld Media

Leah Buley on Twitter: @ugleah

Categories
Empathy Research

On ideas, research, & augmented reality

Would you rather design an app with a fashionable feature, or an app that someone truly needs?

Mobile apps (and websites and their digital friends) are often confused with advertisements. The mentality goes something like this: “we’ll build something with our logo on it that has cool features, looks pretty, and it will reflect well on our company.” But these projects often end up with pointless features or important things lacking.

Categories
Events

Why I Won’t Make Up My Mind About iOS7

As a UX practitioner in a mobile agency (who comes from a background in visual design), I was itching to get my hands on the first images of iOS7. Outside of work, my new iPhone 5 interface has been looking increasingly quaint next to my partner’s Windows phone.

From yesterday’s WWDC keynote, it appears that Apple have changed all that. On first glance, the new version of iOS seems polished and exciting. The stunning visuals fit much better with the iPhone’s physical appearance and what we’ve come to expect of current digital interfaces. But the glimpse we got of the visuals tell a bigger story.

The new features and visuals within iOS7 are a manifestation of bigger themes Apple has placed in the limelight. A focus on multitasking between apps and between devices brings exciting improvements such as the OS Mavericks Finder app which has been upgraded with tagging and tabs. Hardware and software improvements for better speed help do more things more quickly, and the new iOS7 Control Center keeps important functions close while we focus on other things.

20130611-173712.jpg

Photo credit: Apple Insider

Another apparent theme is order. Apple are building a support system for organizing the growing amounts of data users generate. Be it by intelligently grouping photos in the new iOS7 Photos app or by allowing us to tag and better search through documents on the Mac. They have made improvements to handling many tasks with many moving parts while keeping the necessities at hand. The interface changes to iOS7 (with their grids and typography) hint at a stronger call to order visually.

Perhaps the most important focus is on context. Apple’s presentation structure (use case before features) is telling of their strongest ability – enabling the user to complete tasks wherever, however, and whenever they feel is natural. We will now be able to plan journeys on desktop and send maps to the mobile device, see formatting menus based on context in iWork for iCloud, and send iMessage texts while driving with the exciting iOS in the car.

Instead of focusing on a long list of impressive features and specs, Apple always start with the user. This is why it makes sense to see the keynote kicked off by talking about Apple’s principles and how they apply to Apple retail. It’s clear that each feature and detail are part of a bigger system that strives to provide the same great experience to users. This is what makes Apple so hard to copy.

The brief glimpse I caught of the inevitable online reaction was disappointing. I snuck away from dinner to read comments focused mostly on the veneer: mocking the simplicity of the icon design, or questioning the match between the interface colors and that of the hardware. Details that can make a difference but are far from the core of the value Apple introduced at WWDC this year.

iOS7 will be judged by its long-lasting ability to bring joy, usefulness, and convenience to its large pool of users. Sure, the demos and images are exciting, but they’re no measure of a good user experience.

The truth is that we cannot judge the improvements to the user experience of iOS just yet. As Tim Cook mentioned, iPhone users use their devices 50% more than Android uses use theirs. The real test of iOS7 will be in its continued use over time, as kinks get undoubtedly worked out and its truly useful sides emerge from being put in the hands of users.

I can’t wait to get my hands on iOS7 to see how the shiny keynote slides translate to a real-life experience.

Read reactions to the WWDC keynote from my colleagues at Future Workshops in our two part piece about the event.

Categories
Reflections

Apple and the Tamagotchi That Broke My Heart

When I was eight years old I convinced my parents to buy me a tamagotchi. All my friends had one or several, but my parents couldn’t afford much at the time so I was tamagotchi-less until I memorized the entire multiplication table and earned a reward.

We went to choose the toy together. The tamagotchis on the shop shelf were nothing like my friends’ toys. Theirs had been bruised and battered, but I was looking at brand new, shiny, and scratch-free electronic, waiting to be adopted. Waiting to be mine.

I took home a green dinosaur and I fell in love. Not only did it have a tiny animated screen (the type I only thought were possible on bulky computers), it needed me to survive. It was like the puppy I was never allowed to have. I would feed it and pet it and it would look at me adoringly with its pixelated eyes.

The happiness lasted three hours. Excited to show my parents that my dinosaur had grown, I ran to their bedroom. My woolen socks glided on the slippery floor and I fell. I badly hit my arm. Worse, the tamagotchi screen smashed on the floor and all I could see were moving black lines. I stayed up listening to the dinosaur trapped inside, crying myself to sleep.

My parents said I should learn to take better care of things of value. Nearly two decades later, I still haven’t. When I got a new iPhone last fall, I dropped it on the floor within an hour. Since then, it’s been the victim of numerous slides off the tables, tumbles down the underground station steps, and near misses in the loo.

Sometime in the last week, my iPhone rebelled against my neglect and stopped working. I thought that was it. I had finally broken it.

This morning I got a new iPhone. It was given to me for no additional payment by the folks at the Apple store Genius Bar. Simply because my previous iPhone was acting up. They checked it (and must have found something more seriously wrong with it other than the countless scratches) and handed me a brand new phone to take home. I quickly restored a backup onto the new device, leaving its suddenly pristine appearance as the only reminder of today’s visit to the Apple store*.

Only I will always remember.

I remember when I could no longer watch DVDs and my three-years-old MacBook Pro optical drive was replaced by Apple, also free of charge. I remember when my housemate lost all her photos from her exchange program in Hungary and received a new hard drive from Apple, even though it was no longer under warranty.

I also remember the countless times I lost work and had to pay to replace parts of my older HP laptop, the time my external hard drive stopped working and I lost memories as well as a considerable amount of my money, and the time my Braun epilator’s warranty mocked me with the information that only the part that breaks most frequently could not be replaced.

I never got a new tamagotchi. My parents took pity on me after some time and bought me a cheaper replacement. But it wasn’t the same. As a child, it broke my heart.

As an adult, I know better. Accidents happen and it is the choice of the companies who serve us to decide what experience we should have when things don’t go as planned. They can decide to tell us we need to have behaved differently and have us pay the price. We might not argue with their logic but it leaves a bitter tastes in our mouths.

Apple chooses to consider its service. And I choose to spend my money buying from companies that choose to add relief, joy, calm, and reassurance to my life.

This is not a love letter to Apple or my dinasaur tamagotchi. It is a deep acknowledgment that customer and user experience span wider and run deeper than just sexy hardware or clever interface design. We have the ability to put smiles on people’s faces but also to cause them grief. We can’t be sure we’ll always succeed but with careful consideration, we can at least try to help our customers find a moment of joy in our products and services.

Here’s to never breaking hearts when we can heal them instead.

*Thank you, Ruth, for taking my phone in for me. You’re an angel!

If you also care about considerate user experience, come chat with me on twitter.