Advocate for the experience not your design

I frequently become emotionally connected to my work as I’m crafting it, a practice I’m trying to eliminate. It’s actually quite amazing how I see myself in my work, and when I don’t like something I’ve done I violently discard it. And yet, when it’s something I’m happy with, I nurture it, I envision how it will grow, and how others will of course compliment it. To this I say:

When we start a new project we often work with it one on one, at least in its infancy. Even if you’re working with a team your piece of the puzzle is most likely yours and yours alone.

It’s not until we have matured our wireframe, design, pull request, documentation or chunk of code that we feel comfortable sharing it. It is at this junction you have a choice to release your emotional connection with your work, or risk being bound to it.

One thing I’ve grown accustomed to, is sharing my work with my team (we’re hiring by the way) as soon as possible. The earlier I start getting critical feedback, the faster I can iterate, and the less likely I am to have fallen in love with what I’ve built.

Spending too much time alone with your work may result in a bond that makes it hard to be objective. At that point critical feedback can result in defensive maneuvering rather than logical debates. Fresh and new ideas that have been forked from my own can be seen as an imposter trying to one up my own work. User testing can be clouded by questions that lead rather than uncover. It goes on and on.

Not to be confused with designing for or with emotion

You should bring joy to people through thoughtful design! But, you can’t without empathy, and even then you shouldn’t become overly attached to your work until you know the value it brings. You shouldn’t eliminate emotion from your work, just be aware of your emotional connection to it.

Only after others have had the opportunity to interact with and love your work should you do the same. At that point you become an advocate for the people who use your products, rather than an advocate for your design.

Have you ever experienced an emotional connection to your work that has clouded your judgement? Come chat with me and others about it on Twitter.

Emails are dying, if you’re sending them you should take care to do it right

For me personally, marketing emails have to be super relevant or I’m off to click the sacred “unsubscribe” button. Movie Tickets (a service I rarely use) sent me an email today and the data they are sending me is really bizarre.

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To be honest the layout of the email was intriguing and I was interested to learn a bit about my movie habits. However, after 1 look I was immediately discouraged.

“Days since your first purchase” is wordy and frankly a bit strange. I’d rather be congratulated for being a long time customer. Also 3,338 days is kinda like a mom saying “little Johnny is 47 months old”. No, he’s not, he’s turning 4 next month.

Also I’ve clearly been around for a really long time, but rarely use your service. 10 tickets in over 9 years isn’t exactly impressive, maybe something to entice me to come back would be more appropriate.

The major takeaway here is that I didn’t even know that I was subscribed to MovieTickets.com updates before I received this email. I haven’t heard from them before so this was their 1 shot and now I’m off to unsubscribe:

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Where you arrive after clicking “update email preferences” there is no “unsubscribe” button.

Oh wait, I can’t unsubscribe because you didn’t provide an easy way to do that. I now have to login to an account I haven’t used in years to get off your list. Really? At this point the spam button is looking so good right now.

Withings Activité

My wife and son bought me the Withings Activité Pop for Fathers day. It’s the less expensive version of the Activité (which is Swiss made and designed in Paris).

I’m in the love with the idea of this watch. It’s the most beautiful representation of mixing old analog technology with new improved digital smartphones and personal tracking.

Happy Father's Day to me, from my amazing wife and son.

A photo posted by @jessefriedman on

I’ll write up a review in a couple of weeks and let you all know how it is to own one. For now, Happy Fathers Day to all you Dads out there.