User Experience

Auckland, NZ 2012 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

It never leaves your side, it is the single most used item in your life right now, and you take it absolutely everywhere you go. You rely on it for almost everything, and it has the power to cause you major stress when you can’t locate it.

Welcome to your mobile phone.

Of course not everyone will fit into this category, but for the majority of the western world, our phones have become ubiquitous, and we seldom use them for actually talking to people.

Now let’s talk about you for a minute: the user.

You’re either in your teens, living on Instagram, Snapchat, and Spotify. Or maybe your twenties, also living on Instagram, Snapchat, and Spotify (though you may have discovered Podcasts too). Perhaps you are a fifty two year old sales rep for a pharmaceutical start up and you need some big and bold TEXT and long lasting battery life. So, as the product manager for [insert your phone brand of choice here] you need to cater for the needs of many. How on earth do you tackle such a monumental endeavor?

You could start with why.

Why are you creating this thing? There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of creating amazing products that people fall in love with, and usually the user won’t know what hit them – and they probably never realized they wanted it in the first place!

At its core, products are made with people in mind. How will people interact with it? What feelings will it bring them? Will it be a thing of beauty as well as function? Last but not least, can you ship it? Because a beautiful product that is not ready to ship is a ghost.

Empathize with the user, and put yourself in their minds and hearts. Design the things that you would want to have for yourself. Design with passion and love.

If something is not good enough, stop doing it.”

– Jonathan Ive

My Traveling Companion

Ethan sleeping, 2015 (photo credit: Christian Espinoza)

Ethan would always ride in the car with me. Wherever I went, he went. Whatever music I listened to, he listened to. He was the Starsky to my Hutch, without the busting criminals part.

In the early days, Ethan was too little to talk so he would simply watch the passing scenery from the safety of my back seat with baby booster.

As he grew, he ditched the booster seat and he moved to the front passenger side. His speech developed and he offered up some funny conversation, as well as some big questions like “dad, how does time work?” and “who is god?” (I did my best).

Often my job kept me very busy, so the car rides were the only time we really got to spend together. I started to get to know Ethan, his likes and dislikes. He would also sleep a lot.

Now that Ethan is nearly 14 years old, our car ride conversations have been replaced by his headphones and Spotify playlist. Do I miss the old times ? Yes. But I am also glad to see him develop and grow more independent by the day.

I cherish the old times we had talking for hours in the car, but I also look forward to the new times ahead. Maybe one day when Ethan has kids of his own, he will have his own conversations.

The past is gone, the future isn’t here yet, so just take life one car ride at a time.