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Do You Live in a Bubble? (and why it matters)

“There exists a new upper class that’s completely disconnected from the average white American and American culture at large, argues Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist and author.” -Do You Live in a Bubble? (PBS)

I live in a bubble. I have a career I chose and love, friends who are informed and enjoy political discussions but are generally liberal and left-leaning, and I have always been lucky enough to have family that could help me out if I took a risk and needed financial support. I have had my share of struggles, but finances have not been one of them. I have fought for many things and endured tough times, but I have also had opportunities to travel and take on internships. I have always had a safety net. Continue Reading

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When Not to Trust Customer Feedback

I’m never happier than when clients offer to put us in touch with their Customer Service team. If we’re going to help improve the UX, we need to hear where people struggle, why they contact customer service, and frankly, what they’re complaining about. I also love when clients say “we’re hearing that people have problems, and we want to fix those problems.” It’s difficult to hear feedback without getting defensive, and those who are capable of it are far more likely to build an incredible user experience.

But there’s some customer feedback that’s not worth listening to. Continue Reading

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Ageless Personas

On a sunny May afternoon in 2010, I met Dorian. He was a web developer at a small agency, with a wife and two children at home. He spent an hour or two each day online, mostly visiting sites like Reddit and Delicious (remember back when Delicious was popular?) but rarely contributing to either site. He enjoyed snowboarding in the winter, and surfing in the summer, though he rarely found the time to do either these days. Dorian felt comfortable with his personal knowledge of internet security, and prized function over form on the sites he used most frequently.

As you may have guessed, Dorian (short for Dorian Developer) was my first user persona. We detailed his preferences, his wants and needs and fears, his online habits, and his personal life based off the user interviews we’d conducted with a dozen real developers for real small agencies. Every decision we made was subject to the Dorian test: would Dorian like this? Would Dorian use that?

Yet Dorian had no age. Continue Reading