My personality was made for user experience research. In other words, there are two activities I never tire of:
- Asking questions.
- Noticing details.
Some of my friends jokingly call me The Interrogator because when I meet people, I ask them all sorts of questions: Where
are they from? Why did they move to this city? How did they make the
decision to attend graduate school? What do they like about their job?
I just want to know why people make the decisions they make, and how
they process the world around them. Moreover, I want to know the
details about what makes them who they are and why they like certain
foods or clothes or movies. (In fact, I'm so good at picking out the
distinguishing details of people, that I can do quite a few spot-on
impersonations of my family and friends!)
But what does this have to do with user experience? Everything! To me, people who study user experience should have an interest and aptitude in being curious and noticing the "little" things in life. If we do, we will know how to design, serve, or write for any user.
I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing (I think it's a good thing), but even with my personal hobbies and interests, I run usability tests. In 2011, for example, I conducted my second Girl Scout Cookie Taste Test . I wanted to know which of the official Girl Scout Cookie manufacturers was better: ABC Bakers or Little Brownie Bakers. (Yes, there are two, and they have different names for the same cookies.) After testing my family, I found that it depends on the cookie. Little Brownie Bakers makes the best Samoas, or Caramel Delights, but ABC Bakers reigns supreme for Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, and Peanut Butter Patties, or Tagalongs.