Making UX Work with Joe Natoli

Episode 02, Leon Strydom :: Job searches, design obsessions and a dog named Process.

December 11, 2017 Season 1 Episode 2
Making UX Work with Joe Natoli
Episode 02, Leon Strydom :: Job searches, design obsessions and a dog named Process.
Chapters
Making UX Work with Joe Natoli
Episode 02, Leon Strydom :: Job searches, design obsessions and a dog named Process.
Dec 11, 2017 Season 1 Episode 2
Joe Natoli / Leon Strydom
I talk to user-centered designer Leon Strydom about his current UX job search, negotiating tough situations with colleagues and clients and his obsession with all things process.
Show Notes Transcript

Hailing from the UK, my guest Leon Strydom has been working in and on the web since 2008, splitting his time between visual design and front-end development, while frequently turning his talents to print-based design work as well.

While Leon is somewhat new to UX and is currently looking for a job, it becomes obvious pretty quickly that he's a natural. He has drive, dedication and a near-obsessive attention to process that's essential to delivering positive UX.

There's no doubt in my mind that Leon would be a valuable asset to any organization, and top of that, he's incredibly sharp-witted and thoughtful. You're going to enjoy this one, folks.

Learn more about Leon:

Portfolio/Website: leonstrydom.com

Twitter: @MrNiceLeon

LinkedIn: leon-strydom

Speaker 1:
0:08
Hello and welcome to making us work to give you podcast. I'm your host Jonah Toli and our focus here is on folks like you doing a real often unglamorous UKCS work in the real world. You'll hear about their struggles their successes and their journey to and through the trenches of product design development and of course user experience. My guest today is Leon stride. Leon has been working in and on the web since 2008 journeying between visual design and front end development frequently turning his hand to print based graphic design as well. No although he's somewhat new to the X design community and is looking for a new job it becomes immediately apparent that Leon's drive commitment and dedication to the design process and design thinking in general infuses everything that he does and from talking with him.
Speaker 2:
1:01
I think it's also very obvious that he would be a valuable asset to any organization. So without further ado here's my conversation with Leon Strydom on making us work so first and foremost how are you.
Speaker 3:
1:16
Yeah I'm good. I'm just really busy trying to find work. Read writing about 10 cover letters every day. And you know some people might think what's coverlet says who cares but they're quite important especially in our industry.
Speaker 4:
1:34
You have to show that you actually that you actually genuinely interested in the company that youre applying to and not just in finding a job wherever that may be you know.
Speaker 5:
1:44
So every cover letter is a tailored piece of Shakespearean beauty.
Speaker 6:
1:50
So its well as good as it should be quite honestly because that's one of the mistakes that I think I see.
Speaker 7:
1:58
I see way too much in that you know candidates and the same form letter to every organization they are talking to. And you know the person on the other end feels like all right I know that you sent this to 40 people. Why is it that you want to work for us and that's really what they want to know exactly.
Speaker 4:
2:13
Yeah exactly. That's why I'm precisely what I'm trying to avoid Janai mom always try to match the language that they use in their job ads and you know. Yes. Look at the company is as well to find something to talk about when it comes to why it is you want to work for them and particularly.
Speaker 8:
2:32
So yeah what are the things you look at out of curiosity when you're doing research on an organization or why can use this latest one that I did as an example. I went in search.
Speaker 4:
2:42
You know I look at their Web site and a lot of companies have a section called culture or something very similar. And you know it normally talks about women there you'd normally see what their values are like the type of social events that they have for their teams and stuff like that and anything that they talk about in terms of the economy or the environment. You know that's gold right there. You know there's loads of stuff that you can elaborate on when it comes to that sort of thing. But this latest one denies the mislay latest place actually have their own design process. And you know I just me being all about process I just you know right bang. That's why I'm going to talk to them about and you know send them a nice little gift of somebody.
Speaker 5:
3:32
I think it was Oh gosh yes Nicki Minaj like saying wow to the camera and you know I just added the text the name of their design process in textile onto the gif and send them off to them. And they said right thanks. And they immediately go back to me said thank you. We'll be in touch hopefully arrange a interview. So you know it goes to show man that kind of thing pays off.
Speaker 7:
4:00
Well yeah you made an impression obviously. And look that's the name of the game. OK. Every recruiter every hiring manager I mean myself and I had my own company when I was hiring. When I've done for clients what I think a lot of people forget is that the volume of applications and resumes and cover letters and e-mails and inquiries that the people doing the hiring get is enormous. Yeah it's an enormous so one of the first things that you do as you go through and you're looking for something that jumps out at you immediately because you can't spend the time that you would like. With all of it right it sounds like that's very much the approach that your take.
Speaker 5:
4:38
Yeah no. It's the age old story. These recruiters have how many applications to wade through. So you know the ones that stand out are the ones that are going to get looked at.
Speaker 7:
4:48
Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. So out of curiosity what led you to the point where now you're looking for a new gig. Tell me that story right.
Speaker 8:
4:56
OK. I can tell this story without going into my my timeline. You know that's OK. Let's do it. I graduated in 2007 after studying graphic communications. All openly admit that you know. This was during my early 20s when I was still you know I was a totally different person back then I was of course in the wrong frame of mind to be doing something as serious as a degree. You know and like if I was if I was to do it again now it would be such a different story but regardless of that regardless. Basically. Long story short I had a degree that I could put on my CV and you know that got my foot in some doors. And in 2001. What was that degree Graphic Communication. It's basically graphic design.
Speaker 5:
5:46
But you know you delve into the four main pathways that you can apply graphic design and like branding product design. When I say product design I'm talking about packaging you know. Yeah. Like boxes and cartons and stuff like that and all the products. Digital products but there was a digital pathway as well which is why did we spend most of our time in Dobies flash which was Macromedia Flash then. Yes. So that's why I studied and that led to 2008. And mind you before I carry on the 2008 was of course when the economic downturn was in full effect the banks had just made massive Boubou and the pressure was felt all around us really like especially in the places outside of major cities like London which was where I was based I was based in the suburbs. In 2008 I landed a nice little role with a marketing company who mostly did work for churches and ministries and stuff like that. And everything from print to print Filmon as in you know they get to get the stuff delivered and stuff like that. But they took me on mainly because I had experience with web. You know I was able to design and build basic websites and that was an avenue that they had not explored. A lot of it you know I mean this was during the days when I E6 untransparent pinioned GS were still a thing.
Speaker 7:
7:20
AMIN Yeah yeah yeah I mean those are still very early days here.
Speaker 3:
7:24
And you know the big names like Jared spel and who else Simon Collison had only just started evangelizing CSSA back then. You know I mean so that's just to give everybody a rough clue as to when we're talking about here. So yeah I was doing both web and print in 2009 mostly mostly web because I was the only one. And you know back then I had no clue about user experience. But still that role led up to about 2010 when I joined a company that specialized mainly in web and yet still again the word X was not really in anybody's vocabulary there. And that's some of that story led all the way up to 2015. Believe it or not. And so yeah in 2015 was really the wakeup call for me because you know we were doing work that really facilitated or at least you know would have thrived on specializing in X you know because a lot of the work that we would do in worse recruitment sites so heavy exchange of personal details and stuff like that.
Speaker 3:
8:41
And you know there was no assessing the process they use had to go through or anything like that. Anything that they struggle with it was initially just a case of why OK we're going to buy these wordpress plugins and we're just going to let them do their thing. We're not going to worry about it. All right. Total Hochstein out of. Yeah basically. And you know more a case of usability as well because you know thinking back to it there were sites where you know the guy who was in charge just said right do this and I was like really you want them to do all of this just to get them out from you. And I learned just to name a rough example.
Speaker 5:
9:20
And yeah that was my story in 2016 I enrolled in a online course that gave us the gave us a thorough introduction to your facts. And here I am trying to that ended about two months ago. Now I'm full fledged into my job search interest.
Speaker 7:
9:41
So did you. Did you leave that organization or did they fall on hard times or what happened.
Speaker 5:
9:47
Bouffe relief they fell on hard times and you know just prior to that they they let a whole bunch of us go. Me included. In fact I think I was the very last one that they had said goodbye to before shutting their doors. You know. So it goes to show that I don't I don't think they were providing any real value to their client base.
Speaker 9:
10:11
I mean one of their clients were actually recruiters for the creative industry and they came to us asking for something on a no groundbreaking and thinking back the only what they were really asking was good you x x so they probably didn't call it that.
Speaker 7:
10:30
And you know my bet would be the organization didn't really have the language to speak to there either. Was this company very technologically driven very sort of I.T. programming development Trivett or wasn't it wasn't a design for it was kind of neither.
Speaker 5:
10:48
I'm going to sound very cynical here but you know it's really the closest to the truth I can possibly fathom. But it was basically false. Four people came together and said Right we were in the recruitment industry. Design looks like something that anybody can do. I know it's something that everybody has so you know why not let's let's do it ourselves and yes they just thought OK well we need a web developer or something. So and that's when I came into the picture. They rang me up and they even you know mis advertised the job to me they said web designer and I don't know about anybody else. But if someone says web design it's me is not saying what the other you and I would like.
Speaker 6:
11:35
Well of course not.
Speaker 7:
11:37
But you know they don't know what they don't know. So to them that the term means something completely different.
Speaker 10:
11:42
Yeah I tried my best to push because you know one of these four people and he had his Paet his team working in the house so you know in the background of working you'd have people on the phone to end users saying like you know. Right yeah. Give us a call or come in for an interview stuff like that and I don't know. Like am I wrong for thinking. Bang that's gold right there. We've got the perfect opportunity to talk to our end users and I do the best work we possibly can. I mean of course how much effort would have been to just add in a question or two about the Web site and anything that the funding Astley about it you know.
Speaker 7:
12:23
Yeah I tell you what I'm curious about hearing you say that. How much of that impetus when you think in yourself OK why don't we talk to these people they're actually using it. They have insight that we need. You know this is sort of a perfect leap in logic. How much of that was driven by your background in more traditional design versus your exposure to us. Was it one more than the other was it both.
Speaker 3:
12:45
I think it was both because I think you know I think the line that separates us and just normal design is very thin. Because you know essentially I see design as being about people you know like whether it's the end users or just audiences you know like I mean you take the people who are going to be consuming your work into consideration and you proceed accordingly. I mean everything from typeface toys to you know the functionality that you push for you know it's all down to the people that youre designing for I'd say Amen. And so in a way it was both that influenced me wanting to push for them to talk to the users.
Speaker 10:
13:31
You know I mean you know at the end of the day if I had to say it was one or the other I'd say it was just my design instincts you know because we are like we're just designing for the guy who's in charge here. You know he's saying do this and that and you know OK fine you're paying the bills but geez how successful is this Web site of yours I mean like you've got your job listings right. The bottom of the page. Whereas you know they should be at the top of the page for example and I bet. Yeah it was my design instincts I say.
Speaker 7:
14:02
And I think that misunderstanding has been around because I started out international design as well right. My my degree was in graphic design. I think the struggle there we're talking about right that the sort of struggle where you're confronted with stakeholders or business folks or clients or whoever it is that sort of you can see where they need to go but they can't get out of their own way to get there. That same struggle has been going on since before the Internet right says when graphic design was just graphic design and people who built software didn't want nothing to do with designers. I think it was the same fight. You know you're doing marketing matures or an advertising campaign or TV or radio or whatever it is and it's the same struggle right where people are saying well no I want this. You say well why do you want that. Why is it going to land this way with people why is it going to affect people and they don't know and they're not willing to go there. They're just sort of want what they want. I mean make the logo bigger and I'm like OK yeah yeah yeah exactly how big the logo gonna effect.
Speaker 10:
15:02
You know usability like you know how's it going to make your site more usable and more while useful.
Speaker 7:
15:08
You know I mean I always had the sense that it's the same fight now because it's the end of the day what is this doing for you. What's it saying to people what it's allowing them or motivating them to do. And then how is it helping you as organization. I think these questions and these issues and these struggles simply sort of change their shape and size. But at their core they are the same the same struggles.
Speaker 5:
15:35
Yeah I think there's more than I you. Maybe it's something else but I could swear that's something to do with personal taste and you know Pride and stuff like that I mean it's their money and you know at the end of the day they want to make sure that they leave their mark on it seeing as it's their baby I suppose. But gees like when pride comes in the way of common sense and stuff like that the ninth make only some people able to see that it could be detrimental.
Speaker 7:
16:05
Yeah. Have you ever had a situation where you know you were in one of those sort of battles and that person whether it be a client or a stakeholder or somebody internal turn their ship around turn the Chaser opinion and said you know what. You're right about that I really didn't think about this. And you know where they were able to put themselves aside. Have you had any experiences like that.
Speaker 11:
16:27
Yeah. This last position that I mention in 2015 with you know the recruitment sites that we were working on I think there were a couple of times where I point to something out like for and the example that I used earlier was this one site had all the job listings at the very bottom of the page. And mind you this is quite a long page loads of scrolling involved Nidetch.
Speaker 9:
16:54
I did push for those job listings to be moved up the page saw thing and you know the person who was signing off on the design turned around and said Yeah you're right. You know why you're right sir. Do I like if there was no use testing involved either. You know like I tested I went undercover and tested it with some of my friends and you know all of that on off the record stuff is you know you might as well not bother bringing that to the table you know. Because if it's not official signed off by them then they don't really care. Sourcing but that was one battle that I won where I said right. This is what what are you what you used to do. They said apply for jobs and I replied with. Right. Make that prominent stay of center stage. You know and they yeah they they saw it my way.
Speaker 7:
17:45
How often do you think that's a case of somebody in your position with a designer or a you X person whoever. How many times do you think that not happening is a case of the designer or the your expert simply never asking the question.
Speaker 5:
18:01
Goodness from my personal experience anyway. That happened quite often in the organization. I was with because when I after so many times of trying and just having it shot down it sort of sets like a baseline standard or at least a consensus that you know. Right. Don't bother. Don't bother trying to make arguments like that because we know how we're going about playing our game. So just don't bother you just a waste of time. But maybe it varies based on the organization but the place where I was at that was certainly the norm.
Speaker 9:
18:38
You know I mean so most of the time so people just give up. Yeah. Like I mean the only solution I could think of was to I don't know do gorilla testing without anybody knowing and just saying to them Look I've got these numbers here on paper. If you're going to argue with those then that's fine. But for what it's worth his things are actually looking like you know this is the result of your design decisions that you made me implement sort of thing. Obviously not in those words because then they were just fine.
Speaker 4:
19:10
Yeah you have to be diplomatic isn't my problem is that I was always going at the saw a problem alone and I so I have no benchmark by which to say right OK. That's how they handled it or that's how you should approach. You know and that's what works. So yes like I've only got my experiences to go by here.
Speaker 7:
19:29
You know I mean did their opinion of you or the way that they interacted with you changed to a degree after that moment.
Speaker 9:
19:36
How you know how you're like oh I don't know if this is just the type of people they were socially or like you know whether this is initially a standard of professionalism. But yeah they just felt like this anyway it felt like they saw me as argumentative and disruptive and stuff like that. Not disruptive in the word that we know in the world. You know designing disruption and stuff like that. Yet just purely disruptive was the workflow and you know detrimental most even though you gave them something that was there was a definite positive change.
Speaker 5:
20:14
If I do say so myself fortunately like tonight it's a horror story to say the least. Hell. It is what it is.
Speaker 7:
20:25
Yeah and there are a lot of them and I think it's a hard line to walk right where you say to yourself are I on one hand. I believe in this so I have to speak up I have to say something about it I have to do something about it. And you know you guys have all heard this from me prior. You're robbing everybody in the room of what you're capable of and your value if you don't speak up at the same time you also have to know when you're banging your head against a wall and you're continuing to injure yourself and nothing's going to change. Certainly. Did you change or did you change your approach after that just for your own personal sanity. But my approach to evangelizing the users in terms of you know if you if you're sort of getting beat up after that or you know now you're the enemy. The change your approach at all just to get through the day.
Speaker 12:
21:14
Yeah by that point I mean the the writing was on the wall.
Speaker 9:
21:19
And I'm like wow. Actually there was there were a few separate pieces of writing on the wall one of which was right. You're not going to win here. So just do what you got to do because I mean you've got bills to pay. So just do what they tell you to. I mean of course it wasn't the long after that that you know I sort of woke up and thought. Right. To find a different job. You know I mean.
Speaker 7:
21:43
Yeah. And it sounds like things sort of imploded anyway so that you were heading that direction regardless.
Speaker 9:
21:48
Yeah I was I was in the middle of packing my things and then I was like right. Can we speak to you for a second. So I was I sort of missed my chance of legitimately handing in my notice before they actually took the liberty in making me redundant which you know I'm it's is what it is I finished crying about that a long time ago.
Speaker 7:
22:12
So yeah Well there's you know the old cliche is always when one door closes another one opens and we all laugh and we were all our eyes. But you know as someone who has headed towards 50 it really is the truth. The river goes where it needs to go. For the most part so it's always tempting to look back and spend a lot of time sort of gnashing your teeth about things that are taking place prior but there's really no value in it and you're headed where you need to be headed I think I think so I'd say.
Speaker 13:
22:41
And that's one of the handful of positives that I can take away from that place. And I hope day it set me off on dedicate dedicating myself towards gaining my new skills and really appreciating what a use a sense of design approach is all about and I really orientating my efforts around that you know. And like whereas before I was just following the way that I was always doing things that yeah the bowl games different different now and it's hard getting a job. But still like I'm still very much optimist as optimistic as I was when I first started my job search.
Speaker 7:
23:21
So that's fantastic. Yeah. What's what's keeping you motivated.
Speaker 3:
23:25
I just said I believe I stand a chance.
Speaker 5:
23:27
I mean you know I appreciate that it's a competitive market and you know this time of year especially here in the UK anyway is really busy and all that.
Speaker 9:
23:37
So you know obviously progress is going to be slow but. And also if I'm going to be blunt about this anywhere is better than where I was last time around this.
Speaker 7:
23:47
Now I understand that. I think that's I don't think there's anything wrong with that statement.
Speaker 9:
23:52
Yeah sorry like I'm going to Graun myself the opportunity to get out my testosterone.
Speaker 7:
23:57
Right. So obviously mean you feel like you learned a lot of lessons you learned a lot of things about yourself going forward. What kind of role in your perfect ideal world what kind of role do you see yourself in.
Speaker 14:
24:11
I'm off. Got my hopes set on really gang interactions.
Speaker 12:
24:16
I really you know more so product is the more product design oriented side of things where you know you work out the functionality the flow bad the use of flows and you know the general architecture of things and my by field I've got an actual skill or at least a natural eye for that side of things and after I've gone through I've got visual design flair but obviously you know there's always going to be somebody better than you at that I feel yeah.
Speaker 13:
24:45
When it comes to interaction design and the more sort of fundamental layer of things then yeah. Like I've got something to offer the world.
Speaker 7:
24:54
And I mean what pieces of that do you enjoy doing the most.
Speaker 13:
24:58
That's an interesting question. More architectural side of things. I do feel like I've got an actual knack for information architecture and really working out the you know how things flow from from screen to screen and you know what's what's most important to users and stuff.
Speaker 7:
25:18
So I mean what's interesting to me about that is that I know a lot of people and I keep going back to this theme I get that but I know a lot of people who came up in traditional design OK and they're very good visual design and some of them are flat out excellent visuals. And then as they go on in their careers especially with a proliferation of all things digital they find that the behind the scenes parts of interaction design or information architecture or you know what constitutes good user experience all the sort of you know white boardings strategic information heavy work where we're not talking about what's on the screen per se anymore. You talked about the psychology of people. They just they dive into with both feet in it. It gives them this focus and this lift that they didn't have previously and I'm always curious about what the connection is there. Because honest to god I know a lot of people who are really excellent at the non visual non-technical work that we're talking about here.
Speaker 9:
26:22
And almost all of them started in traditional visual design and that is an interesting thing because yourself working backwards if youre thinking about it and then as an explicit design process you know I mean like this tossing out higher up in the process and then you know sort of go backwards in terms of Ribe. All my skills are later on but I'm going to try and apply myself to where it all starts off. I suppose that's where I'm coming from West Africa or a similar story to say to tell even you know because while I studied and my exposure so far really was towards the visual end product and I and that's what you did for me as well. Yeah that's why you did me. I was really wanting to get my hands into the process. You know I might get involved when things really start. First off I make sure that the product that we're going to produce Britney has good value to the world.
Speaker 7:
27:22
Right. Right. I mean it is sort of working backwards in that all of a sudden you find at least for me. You sort of find great joy and satisfaction in saying yeah but why are we doing that. You know we give them up to them. It's it's you sort of think you know you mentioned being young major in college. You have a different mindset. You're a different person when you're your 20s than you are in your 30s and your 40s and I think you start thinking about it differently where as before when you are younger you have an awful lot of confidence in what you're doing. You believe that you're right no one else in the room is wrong.
Speaker 6:
27:58
At least I did not remember.
Speaker 7:
28:02
And then it's interesting you get to the point where you feel like it's a lot more interesting to say well wait a minute why is this the right thing to do and why does this matter and why do we think this is the right solution. And to a lot of people that's like that's the equivalent of watching paint dry. Yes. You know.
Speaker 6:
28:21
So. So here we are we're obsessed with what's wrong with us Leon and I like this.
Speaker 11:
28:28
It just comes naturally and that's why I thought you know I should stick with this direction. Couple of times I have thought right. Should I maybe not become a plumber or something else instead. The nicest this national natural inquisitiveness or strive for really been there since from the inception that I've made know. And if you take my cooking my story about my previous employer into consideration you know that's exactly what happened.
Speaker 13:
28:59
You know I was like why do you want all of this stuff before the before the stuff that the user if it came to your site for you and I like you know reasons reasons reasons why I don't want people to defend their reasoning for their decisions even sorry but do give me some insight as to why this is useful and that I think there's part of that that can be taught.
Speaker 7:
29:24
Like for instance you know where I went to design school the Y was huge. All right and I got my ass handed to me several times by professors where I present something that I thought was visually brilliant. And they said OK here's who your audience is. This has nothing to do with what they expect or what they're used to or what they will interpret properly. Right. So that was hammered into me. That it has to be appropriate and has to be relevant has to be speaking language has to be culturally relevant in some way. So that's certainly part of it. But I often feel like there's something intrinsic in the character in the genetic makeup of those of us who do this work where that's the compelling part of this equation. Right. It's just it just seems the older I get. I wonder if you are part of some of that can be taught. You can certainly learn the mechanics and you can learn you know what to look at whether you care about it or not is another thing entirely.
Speaker 9:
30:19
Yeah. Oh just repeat myself and say you know Epov a part of my sense of empathy for example you know it just comes to me naturally. And I like I just can't help but wonder about what is whether or not what is I'm doing is actually going to be useful or exceed their expectations.
Speaker 12:
30:41
You know like yeah just everything seems like a problem to be solved sort of thing. And I mean yeah.
Speaker 7:
30:47
And I think that's what separates great designers from good designers is what separates people who truly excel at user experience architecture design information architecture or anything from folks who are just sort of you know have a passing interest but never really get beyond being an order taker. You know that's the key. And I think I'd be interested in your take in this based on what you've seen so far my personal belief is that to get where you need to go in this profession. OK. All things we're talking about. You're willing to ask hard questions being sort of a natural problem solver always sort of fixating on the on the why is this appropriate. I think it's required but I also think it's a harder way to go. To get to the point in your career where you need to be you know where you're where you're happy and fulfilled and you do the kind of work you want to do and you're getting sort of the respect and attention and collaboration quite frankly that you're after. Have any any any thoughts around that.
Speaker 15:
31:51
Well from personal experience I think my main problem was just the way that perhaps how I would have myself and I have my gun. No but it's certainly a skill that you have to learn. Take care. McAuliff feedback properly. Mike nothing's personal. As you know if I think that a visual piece of visual design is just not good enough then you know I'm going to say look this needs to be reconsidered and you know more often than not. The creator of that piece of work has you know invested an emotional part of himself and you know that is always that part of them is always the casualty when it comes to feedback that's anything less than absolutely positive. You know I'm sure. So yeah. And I think that's you know that's like a token of what it means to be unprofessional. You know and like you need to be emotionally detached from whatever it is you're doing. So that is I mean you know what's the point in being so emotionally attached to your work. Like if it's if it gets rejected then you're just gonna feel down about it you know and yeah that does nobody any good. But I digress.
Speaker 7:
33:05
I suppose no. I think it's perfectly on topic. I mean you're talking about taking things personally. Were you in that boat yourself.
Speaker 15:
33:13
Let me think back if I cos I suppose when I first got out I mean you know we go. We had enough exercise at this university I mean like we had full on design critiques and you know we yeah yeah we got sort of conditioned into being able to handle feedback. And I like because I've been one of my mottos is there's no negative feedback. The only negative feedback is you know the feedback that's not useful. I don't know if you've noticed this but whenever I post the piece of work on your Facebook page asking for feedback I always use the words please shoot this down for me because I want it I want it to be ripped apart like that's where I find the most useful feedback. Generally you know I like I need to know where this design is failing. You know I mean like yes sure. Tell me what you like. I would much rather hear what you don't like.
Speaker 9:
34:10
You know I mean and I used the words shoot it down so that people can feel comfortable enough in being perfectly honest with me. You know I like because nobody's going to hurt my feelings. But obviously trying to empathize with them in a town like yeah they don't want to have feelings so they're going to try and be as hard about as possible.
Speaker 7:
34:28
So you know I Yeah and you can see where I mean I notice so when people ask for feedback the way they ask for it tells me whether they've been through a college sort of critique curriculum or not. I mean you could sort of see it because the people who have are always the ones who are saying look tell me the unvarnished truth. You're not going to hurt my feelings. I need to know. And I think that's really valuable. And I wonder if there aren't other professional tangential professions around product development OK that maybe don't get that in a college environment. I don't know one way or the other but I'm always curious about it because I think there's a defensiveness that plays into a lot of roles related to product development. It sort of makes me think that when they get into a real role it's the first time they've ever experienced real criticism. Real feedback real constructive. I don't mean you know people who are making personal attacks but it always seems like it's very fresh to people because they get hurt. You know no matter no matter how it comes across yet.
Speaker 11:
35:31
And you mentioned their feedback that just comes from as a personal attack say now I regard that Ibai I totally disregard that whenever whenever I get subjected to it. But I do regard that as useless feedback. You know I mean I don't think it is feedback it's all like you know one comments like you know there's no enough contrast or you know the message is wrong. A while back I posted up a logo on your Facebook page which I confess I was quite fond of. But it got shut down and it was because the messaging was fundamentally wrong. So yeah like that. And that was useful. I mean I was like yeah shame because I really did like that logo. Boom. You know I don't want to put the wrong messaging across. You know what that's like. That's disastrous right. And I feel that in that very instance I grew as a designer.
Speaker 11:
36:28
That was something that from henceforth paid a lot more attention to. You know I don't know. I think there's a pattern with you know the more visual deliverables those get the more emotion gets attached as well. You know I mean like if a sitemap have done is wrong you know as I shake it off. No problem. You know if it's a logo that I've thought about really hard and really liked the look of them you know is just like me. But with anything else like interactions and stuff like that that probably not as good as that could be doesn't faze me it's all interesting.
Speaker 7:
37:02
So is that more about the visual nature of the result or is it more about the fact that this is a more tangible real end result. And now it's sort of getting real and your sort of personal attachment changes. The closer we get to reality. What do you think that is.
Speaker 13:
37:18
I think it's both of those. Yes sure. Cause there's an element of whites were essentially talking about art in a way when we're talking about visual design sort sourcing you know I mean so it's you know a part of the design are all artists self-expression goes into it. You know I mean so it's sort of a part of them that gets rejected when things aren't quite as they should be. But also you know it's more on a constructive level as well when you know it's more of a it's a functional piece of work that needs to perform in a certain way that once you find it within yourself to focus on whether or not it's actually performing and doing what it should do and things get easier or supposed to. It's tricky. Not because it's constantly this back and forth between being expressive and being you know more utilitarian as well.
Speaker 7:
38:10
And of course I mean I personally have always held the belief OK people say it's business is not personal. And I get that an offer comes from but it's kind of bullshit to me because if you care about what you do to any degree I really care about it really care about the end result really care that it's worthwhile. You have to invest some of yourself into it. You've got to invest some emotion and some commitment and some dedication and into it and that is very personal. That drive is very personal. So I think one of the hardest things for all of us to do as human beings is to take that step back and hear the things that you know you don't want to hear but do the hard work of saying I'm going to sit here I'm going to listen to this and I'm going to be open to it because I don't care. At the end of the day about being right being right is not the goal here. So on the heels of that when you're in these situations or when you have been in these situations in the past how did you have any I don't know sort of techniques or self talk or anything that you use to try and stop yourself from just reacting emotionally so that you can be open to what's being said.
Speaker 3:
39:24
That's an interesting question. You know I suppose that saying something like just growing thick skin frou frou exposure is quite the answer they are looking for. But if you think that happens that if that's worked for you then sure I'm interested in hearing about it because I mean yeah it's all very proportional to the feedback.
Speaker 5:
39:45
Like I mean in some cases yes you can tell that something was just meant to say nice of you know something was meant so it just sort of get out you will most you know I mean like I'm not the. Sounds silly or not.
Speaker 7:
39:59
No intent intent it's very clear in the way people speak. I hear you.
Speaker 12:
40:04
Yeah I mean because I find discarded at my previous employer because they just don't believe in me. You know that one of the people that I answer to yeah they just had in their head that you're not a designer. Your problem. You're more of a technical person. You know I so like henceforth I'm going to bed on mind every time you submit a piece of work. So I think you know I mean and for me anyway it was just a case of right. If you want this job if you if you need the money enough then you're just going off to roll with it and just take on the chin sourcing you know hands. Yeah. After a while it comes naturally to you.
Speaker 9:
40:41
But I just learned to always keep a straight face like you had just simple things like that really what is it.
Speaker 7:
40:50
I'm laughing because I thought of something somebody told me a long time ago in fact I think I want to say it was part of a conversation I had with Henry Rollins. HENRY ROLLINS Yeah really yeah yeah yeah. I interviewed him a couple of times and for several years we had sort of a correspondence going back which is interesting story for another time. But one of my favorite people and what he said to me was when criticism or feedback is coming at you. And it's and you can tell that it's personal in nature and it has nothing to do with you know making something better or you know the topic at hand or whatever he said the way that he responds to it is he'll say. Duly noted. OK.
Speaker 6:
41:36
Which to him is a very polite way of saying exactly like you get out. I thought that was one of the most brilliant things I've ever heard and I probably should admit this out loud but I use it all right. Yes. Because for two reasons. It's polite. Right when you say it and now private I've got to say it anymore because it's going to be public secrets out now. Right. I'm not going to get away with it. But but it's polite. Right it comes across well. And at the same time you get the personal satisfaction of sort of knowing what you're really saying. Yeah.
Speaker 16:
42:15
Without getting a bad response.
Speaker 6:
42:17
Yeah that's great. That's right. But I mean the reason I'm the reason I mention it though is because I think that's that's part of it is that you have to find a way to respond.
Speaker 7:
42:28
That's not emotional because the minute you allow yourself to go there you've lost period. Even if the person is just interested in personally attacking you there's nothing to be gained from a fight right if you go into a conversation with your fists. The only outcome is going to be a battle. And it doesn't serve anybody.
Speaker 16:
42:47
It's been duly noted my real life like this is.
Speaker 14:
42:55
Yeah this is a very useful cause. I mean it's really encouraging because and I still feel like I wasn't far off in my assumptions about how I should deal with this. You know I mean like I always just make sure that I seem like I'm not fazed by this thing and so you know I mean right. Nights they want me to seem phased burst and that sure as hell isn't what they're going to get. And I mean like no that's right. You can't get emotion because if they're making it personal then they're obviously after a negative response. I mean so the best thing you can do is just let it slide over you.
Speaker 7:
43:29
Yeah yeah yeah. I've had plenty of instances where I've just sort of found a polite way to say look I completely respect your opinion. It is yours. You are in some cases it's a client you're saying look you're the one taking all the risk here I get it. You got to draw a stake in the sand that you're comfortable with. Draw a line in the sand put a stake in the sand that you're comfortable with. At the same time just understand that with all due respect I can't go there with you because I don't believe I don't believe based on my experience that this is going to end well. OK. OK. I could be wrong about that. I hope that I'm wrong about that. But this is sort of the place where you go your way and I go mine and you're right if you respond emotionally in any way there's just there's nothing good that comes from that. I also find that that approach if you're calm sometimes just the way that you respond will cause people to rethink what they're saying and it doesn't always happen right away. A lot of times you get an email or a call to three days later because your reaction surprised the other person is sort of caught him off guard a little bit and then I think well wow he took that really well.
Speaker 6:
44:37
Why. Why. What don't I know.
Speaker 13:
44:40
You know like yeah I think you're totally right that not only good things can come from reacting that way. And I mean yes if you'll ever get to opening further avenues for yourself and just keep your cool. You know I mean like you said that only good things can come from that whether it's they just decide that they're bored of getting personal with you or whether they actually stop and think hang on maybe I'm not giving this guy enough credit. Like regardless yes. Yeah. Good things can come from that.
Speaker 7:
45:13
Now I agree with you I think that's good right. So I would like to hit you with what we call some hotseat questions. OK. So first question is this what are you.
Speaker 16:
45:26
Not very good at one of my not very good acts and not obsessing over what they saw. Because you know with Robert prototyping and getting things out the door as quickly as possible and moving on to the next step. I find it quite hard to move on if I'm not entirely happy with it. I mean yeah he just got to do what you got to do and possibly work on you I like I secretly sometimes come back so upset so it's like just before bedtime bursts. Yeah. Like on a day like you know officially say goodbye.
Speaker 14:
46:07
Hopefully it does the best I can. You know I mean so Europe says yes pretty much it's almost perfectionism that I suffer from.
Speaker 15:
46:15
You know I mean like some some of the people on your facebook group all agree the slogan on my Web site used to be if you're going to do something do it properly and you know essentially that could be misconstrued in you know saying that oh this guy's obsessed with professionalism you know I mean so I obsessed over that and went and changed it. So yeah there you go.
Speaker 7:
46:36
Do you ever see the movie it's John Turturro and the guys it's called Mac there they're contractors are Italian construction workers go to houses. Right. I related to this movie because I grew up you know construction come to both sides of a family. My father is an incredible carpenter and he and his brothers are deteriorated to the nth degree. And in this movie his father taught the three of them something growing up when they learned how to build houses. He said there's two ways to do things. There's the right way and my way and they're the same thing.
Speaker 6:
47:11
Hey I got such a charge out of this movie because that's kind of how I grew up.
Speaker 7:
47:17
I mean that was never said explicitly but it's sort of the same thing and you carry that. And part of the reason I'm laughing so much when you when you say all this is because I'm very much the same way. OK. Letting go letting go of that. That nth degree of perfection you know like that that extra pixel or whatever it is that's a hard one. But it's good that you openly admit it it's good that we're having and open you know therapy session here. Yep Toia where we can we can overcome our obstacles. Precisely. Next question. Tell me something that you think is true about you X or design or are anything quite frankly that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Speaker 16:
47:57
I was hoping that you would. You were going to ask this from group.
Speaker 13:
48:01
I actually went and wrote down when it comes to you X if you consider everything you know that we've I said earlier to you about you know design is about people in general audiences or indeed users. And I I believe there's a argument to be made that you X really is just design but you know proper design you know.
Speaker 14:
48:25
It's from the ground up it's the way it should be like you know you should always conduct yourself in consideration with who the end user is or who the audience is obviously of course business goals as well. You have to meet but name. Yeah. Arguably I'm like if I had it my way I would rebrand X as just design like you just pressed all my buttons. I don't find a pun on your Facebook page all day long go for saying the same thing and you know understandably Fair enough. It's just when I got to grips with for you really is it just. Yeah. Like I was sat there thinking to myself Hang on this is just design like this is what design is supposed to be degree. I mean like you're taking it from planning through to the ideation and cetera etc.. You know I'm like yeah this is this is just proper design for me.
Speaker 7:
49:20
I totally agree totally agree. And that's and you may have heard me say that that's my thing. Design is design design design is design is design. I quote Massam or Vanille all the time because that was his whole thing. Right. One of his most famous quotes is If you can design one thing well you can design anything. Well I firmly believe that. You're either paying attention to what people want what they need what they expect what they're able to use all the constraints there are around the problem solving discipline. We know as design if you're doing that properly you are doing in effect a lot of these other sort of subdisciplines that we've invented. You are providing good information architecture you are thinking about language and communication you are thinking about what visual signals get sent you know you are thinking about the psychology of the person you are thinking about usability principles. So I'm I'm with you I'm in violent agreement with you there it's all the same stuff to me yeah. You know it really really is I think the problem is a lot of people see design in a very small box you know in terms of what it is and what it means and it's not really accurate so much. Well scratch one out for me yeah yeah let's do one more got one word or phrase do you say.
Speaker 6:
50:32
Way too much process for us like I'm obsessed with you know the process.
Speaker 14:
50:42
I mean I'm always asking OK what if the client says to me I do this I just automatically even if I don't say it's the Mouloud I think to myself why and that are masking OK. Why what's the what's the problem that we're trying to solve or what's the business goal here or what is it that we have established about the uses that leads us to this success. You know like I just have this obsession with if I push a so then I need to be able to justify that direction on pushing in a minute. So yeah you go. My most used word is probably process. It's a good word misuse.
Speaker 6:
51:21
I would say I'm going to call my next dog process for us the process career ticket process that my dogs are going to be like Are you Doctor. Yeah right. Well we are at the end of our time.
Speaker 7:
51:37
Sir I cannot thank you enough likewise for a truly enjoyable conversation I really enjoy talking to you and hopefully we'll have you back at some point.
Speaker 14:
51:47
I'm here as long as soon as you need me. Just gimme gimme a shout. You know I like hopefully you found the things I said useful. Hopefully none of what I said was complete and not some nonsensical.
Speaker 6:
51:59
A lot of us are nice because now we would have stopped a lot sooner if that was the case. Oh okay cool thanks for your honesty.
Speaker 7:
52:08
No problem I wish you well in your job search and I hope you will continue to update us on your progress.
Speaker 14:
52:13
Definitely will do. Thank you very much for being there for me. You and your all your followers. You know I mean like has fared much appreciated. It's great to have somebody like you in the community. You're welcome I'm honored to be of service. Gay rights is something that we can just do the same. We'll speak against say. Take our YouTube goodbye.
Speaker 1:
52:36
That wraps up this edition of making us work. Thanks for listening and I hope hearing these stories provide some useful perspective and encouragement along with a reminder that you're not alone. Before I go I want you to know you can find shows and links to the things mentioned during our conversation by visiting give good you X.com slash podcast. You'll also find links to more US resources on the web and social media along with ways to contact me if you're interested in sharing your own story here.
Speaker 17:
53:05
Until next time this is Joe Anatoliy reminding you that it's people like you who make us work.