First NYC Training

by Donna Lichaw on 6 June 2014

First NYC Training […start off by talking about how we did our first training in NYC…etc…]

One topic came up that I thought was really interesting. We were having a group discussion about the value of UX and doing UX work in an organization when building digital things. Someone said that they see the value of UX work as being the thing that makes digital products and even entire cross-platform services appear to work seamlessly. Users shouldn't know or care about how every single piece of functionality works – in fact, if they’re thinking about it, we haven’t done our job…it should all work like magic. This made me think back to when I was in film school. “Film magic” is a quote that not only refers to films being a wonderful artistic medium, but more specifically to the illusion that filmmaking really is. Filmmakers build worlds, stories characters, entire universes with many tricks. For example, lighting is there not to light the scene, but to help the camera pick up light and shadows so that when projected, we see the illusion of depth. Editing is there to make things appear seamless.

There are many rules of editing and when they are broken, it’s often called a “jump cut.” When you have jump cuts, then you often ruin the magic trick and get people in the audience to wonder things like “why wasn’t there a camera in the background when the previous shot was shot from across the room?” In reality, movies are often shot with one camera at a time and shots are re-staged many times throughout a schedule. It’s about creating an illusion of time and space. When you break rules, like cutting to a shot that an audience member thinks should have a camera hiding in it, you give up your sleight of hand. Same goes for designing digital products. Users notice things like when buttons aren’t in a normal place or standards aren’t adhered to.

Users also notice the equivalent of what film calls “jump cuts,” when they don’t get proper feedback from the system. For example, if a user submits a form and the system doesn’t feedback properly, they often think something broke. “Did the form submit?” “Is it currently submitting?” On the low end, this leads to frustration, on the high end, revenue lost because people can’t complete a shopping cart transaction, for example. [end with…something about how it’s important for us to think like filmmakers and the magic that we’re using when crafting digital experiences…]

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