Making UX Work with Joe Natoli

Episode 10, Kristin Currier Ludlow: YES WE CAN!

December 17, 2018 Joe Natoli / Kristin Currier Ludlow Season 1 Episode 10
Making UX Work with Joe Natoli
Episode 10, Kristin Currier Ludlow: YES WE CAN!
Show Notes Transcript

My guest today is Kristin Currier Ludlow, a Digital Designer with over 20 years of helping people shop better online and in stores.

In my experience, retail is one of the toughest industries to advocate for and create UX change, but as you'll hear, it's a challenge Kristin has risen to — and overcome.

Kristin believes that everything in retail — and life — is user experience. Whether you're resetting a store or an building an online shopping cart, it's the same thing. And as you'll hear, she's applied that belief to every task she's ever tackled.

From companies like Office Depot, Home Depot, CompUSA and Levenger to her current gig with a small UX team at City Furniture, Kristin has carried the DIY spirit and positive, can-do attitude of punk rock into everything she does.

That being something we share, this was an absolutely inspiring conversation for me.


Twitter:

@kristincurrier

Facebook:

Kristin Joy Currier Ludlow

LinkedIn:

Kristin (Currier) Ludlow, UXC

Instagram:

kristincurrier

Websites:

http://source-studio.com
http://kristincurrier.com/


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Joe Natoli:

Hello and welcome to Making UX Work, the Give Good UX podcast. I'm your host Joe Natoli, and our focus here is on folks like you doing real, often unglamorous UX 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 Kristin Courrier Ludlow, a Digital Designer with over 20 years of helping people shop better online and in stores. She's worked with companies like Office Depot, Home Depot, CompUSA, Levenger and now City Furniture, a South Florida chain that's rebranding, expanding and rapidly growing their e-commerce team. Kristin believes that everything in retail — and life — is user experience. Whether you're resetting a store or building an online shopping cart, it's the same thing. Here's my conversation with Kristin Currier Ludlow on Making UX Work. So Kristin... How are you?

Kristin Currier:

I'm fantastic. How are you?

Joe Natoli:

I am fantastic as well it's the end of the week.

Kristin Currier:

I know, yaay!

Joe Natoli:

It's my favorite day the week. What's going on for you this weekend, anything exciting?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah! We've got a lot of exciting things going on. I have been doing a lot of work with the e-mail here, e-mail design. I work for City Furniture here in Florida. And I've done e-mail design amongst other design work for other e-commerce companies for a while now. This is a sort of a family-led business that's looking to expand rapidly and they're going under a little bit of a rebrand right now. So we've got a lot going on. It's... We're moving really quickly with the rebrand and also expansion plans into northern Florida. So I'm putting together a lot of foundational elements for the email going forward and we're also adding more people into the team.

Joe Natoli:

Very cool.

Kristin Currier:

So exciting times.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah, well speaking of which, how many people are on that team? I mean how many people are working in the sort of UX or design area, aside from yourself?

Kristin Currier:

Well, for just the design team, there's three of us.

Joe Natoli:

Okay.

Kristin Currier:

And there was one UX designer when I first got here and then we did we hired a visual designer probably a year ago. And so is the three of us are a little bit like a supergroup right now.

Joe Natoli:

Supergroup, I like that!

Kristin Currier:

That's exactly what we are.

Joe Natoli:

You're releasing a record soon, I guess?

Kristin Currier:

I think so yeah.

Joe Natoli:

I'll tell you what's cool, when I look at your LinkedIn profile, is that all down the line, right, I see retail organizations.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Home Depot, CompUSA, Level 1, Levenger, Office Depot and then City Furniture. And what jumps out at me in particular is that there's a very clear path, to me, that this that this represents.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

OK, you started in... Looks like you were doing some visual merchandising at first.

Kristin Currier:

I sure was.

Joe Natoli:

Things like that, signs displays?

Kristin Currier:

Yep.

Joe Natoli:

Right, so to come in at that level and then work your way up you know sort of through various things to where you are right now. To me this is sort of like... It's an inspirational path, I think,. because a lot of folks feel like they'll never get to where they want to be. And they feel like the job they're doing now is very far removed from what they want. And I don't know, to my eye, you are living proof that it can absolutely be done.

Kristin Currier:

Absolutely. I absolutely agree. It's it's been a wild ride. I got started in retail, just... I needed a job. I was probably 19 years old and I just started out of the sort of what... They sold liquidated goods. So if you had a business and that business went up in flames and you had merchandise, this company would pick it up and resell it. And it was a funky little company in the Boston area. And I started out doing all their hand-painted signs and posters. And from then on I continued to work in retail it seemed every job I had and I've had a ton of jobs in brick-and-mortar and design for retail. It was all about making a better environment for shoppers.

Joe Natoli:

And that's the gig, right? I mean, in every aspect and every aspect of, you know, what you're doing in a retail type environment. I have always personally felt... Because my past history I had a lot of retail clients as well. Yeah. Worked for Merry-Go-Round at one point, in-house. Way way way way way back when. And it's kind of like the thing I always say about design, right? Design is design and design is UX. It's all the same stuff. When you think about marketing branding and all this... The outward expression of that as it relates to the people shopping in the stores or online or whatever it is.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

I mean, that's what we're doing here, Right?

Kristin Currier:

Exactly.

Joe Natoli:

Do you feel like because, because of these environments that you've worked in, because of sort of the retail aspect of what you're doing, do you feel like you may have gained some experiences or insights that benefit you in particular as you go forward?

Kristin Currier:

Oh yeah, absolutely. Since I've been where I've worked, when I started out it was face-to-face with the customer. I did a lot of work with Home Depot on the floor and, you know, various other retail places where I had direct access to the customers and also the salespeople. They're really important to get to know too, because they have first experience first-hand experience with what customers are asking for, how they shop,

Joe Natoli:

Yeah, yep.

Kristin Currier:

To transfer that over to... First print, and then to online, you really get a good range of you know, feel for what customers are looking for. Kind of like an empathy thing.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah I would think having that kind of face-to-face contact goes a long way. In that, in particular if you work on the floor, I think you see what's lacking number one — based on the questions people asking you — and I'm sure that you start to see patterns.

Kristin Currier:

Oh you sure do.

Joe Natoli:

Any incidents or stories, or anything that stands out for you in any of those gigs?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. I think when I was working for Home Depot, it was one of the first stores in the Quincy, Massachusetts area. And it was it was when Home Depot was first really spreading across the country. They started in Georgia and they were gonna open up their first Boston area store and that was in the Quincy, Massachusetts area. And I got a job there. I was working the sales floor and I noticed that nothing was really signed. You know, this is the first real big box model that people were experiencing and they would walk into the store and they'd be completely lost. It was a very confusing experience. Lots of truck you know trucks beeping and rolling around and big things being moved around. Nothing was really signed very well, people didn't know how much anything was, they didn't know where to find things. And I answered a lot of questions. We all were very heavy on customer service ,because we had to be there with the customer and basically take them by the hand and help them out. So I started signing everything and making sure everything in the store was signed. All the bulk stacks were signed. And I eventually ended up creating, like a wayfinder system that would indicate in the aisles where all things would be. So if you're looking for screws, you knew where those would be. And so that was sort of my first introduction to... I don't know if you want to call it Information Architecture, but just getting people to find what they're looking for.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah. Out of curiosity how new was Home Depot at this point in the time period that you're talking about? Like how new was this concept of this massive store where everything you could ever possibly want in terms of home improvement was in one place. In this warehouse-sized space.

Kristin Currier:

Well we had a couple of stores in the New England area that sort of emulated what Home Depot was doing, but not to this breadth. This place was massive. And I don't think we even had Wal-Marts at that time. Now we had a few large department stores but a home improvement store of this size was kind of... it blew people's minds a bit.

Joe Natoli:

Right, so it's... What I'm getting at is that going from what you're used to to this entirely new concept is a pretty overwhelming experience.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

You know, it's like wandering into a city that doesn't have any street signs.

Kristin Currier:

It really was! People had no frame of reference at all, they were just wandering around completely lost.

Joe Natoli:

So when you created these signs, were you doing it...was this sort of a DIY thing, or was it sanctioned by Home Depot where they're saying "OK we'll print them. If you, if you do them we'll print them. "

Kristin Currier:

Oh, everything's DIY with me.... It wasn't even my job. You know, in the beginning. I just saw a need and I said "you know what, it will make my life easier too."

Joe Natoli:

I love this.

Kristin Currier:

Open up more space for me to get things done because I was also involved with you know a lot of resets and making things physically shoppable for people. So yeah I ended up just taking this on and the manager said, "You know what, this is really cool. Why don't you just do this full time?" So that's all I did.

Joe Natoli:

Wow.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. And then eventually they created their own plastic wayfinder system and installed it all over the store.

Joe Natoli:

That's fantastic.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah!

Joe Natoli:

Absolutely fantastic. And here's what's relevant, OK, for everybody that's listening. Folks, this is a prime example. If I had a nickel for every time I heard somebody say, "well, you know they won't give us approval to do this. Or they won't, they don't agree that we should do this," or "I'm not allowed to." And I think to myself, "Bullshit. Just do it."

Kristin Currier:

Yes.

Joe Natoli:

You know? I mean case in point, like, "OK this sucks for us, it sucks for our customers." And you know, I mean, you could've spent another month bitching about it — but you didn't. You just said, "All right, well, here's what I'm going to do. I'm gonna fix it."

Kristin Currier:

Right. I honestly I think that's the nature of e-commerce people, at least most the people I've worked with, they have that mindset. We're all renegades and sometimes we get to trouble and break some rules and rattle some cages, but we're usually, hopefully, thinking about the user at all times.

Joe Natoli:

I think that's really interesting that you say that. So this is sort of a characteristic thread that you've seen through the folks that you've worked with in the space?

Kristin Currier:

Yes, most of them.

Joe Natoli:

Wow. Why do you think that is?

Kristin Currier:

I think it's... The nature of e-commerce in general moves really quickly and so does technology. And you you are you're always challenged to keep up with, you know, shopper habits and what people are really doing and what they're buying. So you've got to get used to change and to have that mindset, you've got to be a little bit of a rebel. And be able to accept challenge, and challenge. And to adapt with the times. So I just think it's natural with most people I've worked with.

Joe Natoli:

Really do find that fascinating and it makes total sense. You know, the way you just explained it.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

It makes total sense to me. But it's the kind of thing, you know, I would really like to see take hold in a lot more places.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, so would I.

Joe Natoli:

Because the pace is the same, as far as I can see. You know? I mean the pace of change, the pace of technological advancement, the pace at which, inside an organization, I always say the urgent trumps the important. ..like "Do this! Do this! Do this! We have to do this, like when are you going to..." You know? I talked to a company a week ago, they're talking to me about this new B2B Web site. They want to roll out specifically for their business customers.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

And they're reeling off this massive amount of content changes they want to make and Information Architecture ideas and all these things — and it's all good, OK, it's all really smart —

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

It's all moving in the right direction. And I say "OK, what do you think your general timeline looks like for this?" And they go, "next Wednesday."

Kristin Currier:

(laughter)

Joe Natoli:

I said, "How?" "I don't mean to be the naysayer in the room, but how do you possibly think you're going to pull that off, right, next Wednesday?" What IS that? You know? And what inevitably happens is because that target is so big, nothing happens. Right, because they're trying to do all of it at the same time.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. Yep.

Joe Natoli:

So again, I just think your example is a really good one. What's our most pressing problem right now? It's this. OK? Let's do this.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

Here's the solution.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

Put up some signs.

Kristin Currier:

Yep.

Joe Natoli:

Speaking of the DIY thing, I learned a short while ago that you and I have some similar maybe punk rock roots.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah I guess we do.

Joe Natoli:

Tell me a little bit about that.

Kristin Currier:

Oh boy. Well, growing up in the south shore area of Boston, you know, we had a nice music scene going on there.

Joe Natoli:

Yes you did.

Kristin Currier:

We sure did. And it was pretty amazing. I was a lonely, nerd nerdy kid growing up in a fishing village basically. And I wasn't really into the music around me and I didn't have a whole lot of close friends. I would, you know, play with the radio dial looking for signs of life. You know, almost like that Lou Reed song — little girl, five years old, finding rock 'n roll — that was me. And yeah I found some great music being put out by college stations and got into that and then I started finding people that were almost like my tribe. You know, people who are into the skateboarding scene and they would go to shows in downtown Boston and that sort of thing. And that's actually where I met my husband. Why I I'm currently married to. We're a couple of old punks that still listen to the music and still love it. I grew up with Henry Rollins too. I was reading a lot of his poetry growing up.

Joe Natoli:

You and I, we could probably talk for days about that. All by itself. And like you, I take inspiration from the same places. You know, I mean for me, even though I grew up in Ohio, OK... For whatever reason, my cousins and a good friend of ours, Jimmy Donadio, was into D.C. hardcore in particular. So you know, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Fugazi, even though flag went out to California. But, you know, Henry and Ian in particular were kind of like the cornerstones of all this. And the labels too like you know like SST, Dischord... outta Boston, Taang records.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah!

Joe Natoli:

Right? All that stuff.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, it was great stuff.

Joe Natoli:

To what degree do you feel like that experience, that scene, that music — and as you said, I mean you're still sort of there, it's still meaningful to you, which it is for me as well—

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

How do you feel like that influenced your approach? I mean, not just even to your career but... But to everything, to your trajectory from the time you discovered that stuff, to the time you went to school, to the time your first job and onward.

Kristin Currier:

Oh, everything. And I really mean that. It affects everything that I do and it provides a lens for me to view the world as something to question. And even myself, questioning myself, like if I ever think I can't do something. If I can't learn how to code or if I can't get this job I want to get. I call bullshit on it.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah.

Kristin Currier:

You know, I challenge myself and I like to challenge other people as well. It's a very DIY ethic. Like anything you think you can't do, you CAN if you really put your mind to it.

Joe Natoli:

Yep totally agree.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

I also feel like — and this may be stretching the thread here — but I also feel like the accessibility of a lot of those folks, a lot of those musicians, a lot of those bands, played a major role in sort of shifting my perspective of who they were. Because when you removed, you know, you look at these these folks like they are..., I don't know they're celebrities in a way. They're... They're removed. Like you're not them, you're not on that level. They exist in this rarified air of some sort. And then when you have exposure to them. Right. If you if you're lucky enough to meet some of these folks in person, you sort of get a very different perspective, which is like, "no, I pulled myself up out of it just like you have to."

Kristin Currier:

Yes.

Joe Natoli:

You know, is essentially the message. I had a five-minute conversation a million years ago with Ian MacKaye, and it like ...my head exploded. Because in this tiny little space of time, just a random conversation, he was just like, "well no, we just decided that somebody should do this. So we did it. Right and we didn't know what we're doing. There was no great plan other than my friends are making awesome music and I want to release it."

Kristin Currier:

That's it. That's another thing is that you don't have to know what you're doing!

Joe Natoli:

No.

Kristin Currier:

And you might be fearful that you're going to fail, and you have to do it anyway. You know, you just have to fall on your face and get back up and do it again. You might be only able to play three chords, but you can make a great song out of three chords. It's the same that applies in design. And I feel like most people I work with, they've got a lot of punk rock in them. They're not afraid to fail.

Joe Natoli:

And I think it's necessary.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah it really is.

Joe Natoli:

I think that spirit is necessary. I mean, a lot of the things that I say out loud and then in interviews and articles, come directly from those experiences. I mean, you talked about Henry, right?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Here's a guy who for the last, I don't know, probably since 1989, OK? If I have ever written or emailed or anything like that...you get a response back.

Kristin Currier:

Wow.

Joe Natoli:

Always. Every time.

Kristin Currier:

Yes.

Joe Natoli:

And, like again, a million years ago I asked the question "What would you say to somebody" — we were talking about writers actually — And I said, "What would you say to somebody who feels like they want to write, whether it's poetry or books or whatever the case may be, you know, what would your advice to young people feeling like this is this is a huge mountain to climb?" And he said, "Go out there and get your nose broken."

Kristin Currier:

Yep.

Joe Natoli:

Because there is no other way. You can sit around waiting for the opportunity, you can sit around waiting until you're fearless ,you can sit around waiting for all the planets to align or for the risk to lessen. And it's not going to happen.

Kristin Currier:

No.

Joe Natoli:

Right? And again, that was like a moment for me and I thought "I'm going to carry that forward."

Kristin Currier:

Yeah it's very powerful

Joe Natoli:

And — I'm talking too much — but another thing that he said to me, that I always carry with me, is that he was like "look, if I got this far, you know — I'm a high school education, minimum wage world kind of guy — if I got this far you should be able to get twice as far." And I went WOW... And I believe that. At at this point in my career, at 50, I really really believe that. There is nothing stopping you except you.

Kristin Currier:

That's a beautiful thing to say, especially when you're looking at 50. I just turned 49 yesterday.

Joe Natoli:

Ohhhh, you're going to join the club soon.

Kristin Currier:

I am, I'm headed there, not far behind! But it's an interesting, you know, age to be at. And I you know I've had... For the first time in my life, I'm experiencing that age conversation. I think a lot of designers do when they hit 40 and a lot of millennials are getting pumped out of these code academies... And they're looking around at a market that's changing and shifting towards millennials. And they're thinking to themselves, "Am I relevant anymore?" And I've had that conversation and I never really thought I would. And I had to look at that conversation and say to myself, "you know what? That chatter might always be in my head, that doubt. But you know it's just another doubt that I had when I was younger that just shifted into another context."

Joe Natoli:

Right.

Kristin Currier:

And I have to commit myself to what I am empowered to do today., And just kind of call bullshit on myself and move forward.

Joe Natoli:

So I mean you kind of just answered it. But when you're struggling like that...

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Because I don't think it goes away.

Kristin Currier:

No.

Joe Natoli:

You know, it sort of keeps popping up over and over again. When you're going through that, what do you call up in your head, or your heart, or what do you lean on to sort of help yourself push through that.

Kristin Currier:

That's a really really good question. It starts, I believe — and it's going to sound a little 'woo-woo' — but I really look towards gratitude and the things that are going well in life. And in your job and your career and your relationships and really taking a good look at what is working and remembering a bigger picture. It's not just about in the moment. It's not just about how you are doubting yourself right here and now; it's about the bigger scope of things and what's possible. And I know that sounds really like a big tent thing but it really that's what gets me going, is thinking about all the endless possibilities that are opening up in this field and in life in general.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah

Kristin Currier:

It's huge. I'm an optimist. That's what I am.

Joe Natoli:

That's good. Being an optimist is a necessary ingredient.

Kristin Currier:

Yup.

Joe Natoli:

it's a requirement for this job.

Kristin Currier:

Yes it is.

Joe Natoli:

You know? And and I think you're right about I don't think it sounds 'woo woo' at all. I think that it's very easy, especially when you're struggling, to lose sight of, like you said the things that are working.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

To lose sight of what's going right, to lose sight of what you've accomplished.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

And you have to. I totally, totally agree with you. You have to lean on that. I mean I'll give you an example. Doug Collins, who's in the group, just launched a new Web site called UX News and he's doing this thing called Five Question Friday. So he asked me to be sort of the first guest. Anyway, he posted a quick thing last night that said this is coming up tomorrow. And he said some unbelievable things that really floored me. He was like, you know, about about the value of the answers I gave him. And he was like, you know "sending shivers up my spine" or something like that. And uh... The only reason I mention that is because every single time that happens, I am genuinely... there's some part of me that is genuinely shocked.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

You know, that's like, "me?"

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

You know, it just it never... It never stops. And I think that's. The negative part of that is, I think like we're talking about, it's very easy to lose sight of your value. Of what you provide to people.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. It can be it can be a challenge at times.

Joe Natoli:

What kinds of things show up for you that make you feel like "Okay, yeah. This is as it should be. This is, I'm headed in the right direction here.

Kristin Currier:

Oh wow, yeah.

Joe Natoli:

I mean what kind of signposts, or evidence, or things of that nature do you look for?

Kristin Currier:

It just presents itself, one thing after another. It's it's everywhere I look. I just know I'm absolutely in the right place at the right time and with the right people. And it's really remarkable where I'm at right now, because we have leadership buy-in from the top. So everything that we're trying to do here, on our little growing team, they have our back. And... Just the right people are in the right places at the right time and everything's working as it should.

Joe Natoli:

Is that buy-in something that you had to to work for, or was it, I mean was there before you came in? Or was it sort of a symbiotic kind of thing where that grew as you did more work?

Kristin Currier:

Um, a little bit of both. And I think the buy-in was already there. I think it was the mindset that was already in place. That the people who run this company, they really want to grow. They... This is a lean company. So they have people come over here from Toyota all the time. It's just remarkable how they run this company. So they're very open to change and growth. So when, this is a very young e-commerce team both in age and also in time span working for this company. So we just kept pushing for, you know, little things and incremental improvements. And winning on that. We have a little analytics team and they back up what we do with data. So when we show them data, that really also reinforces that buy-in. So the right things are in the right place at the right time.

Joe Natoli:

It certainly sounds like it. Can you give me an example of an instance where you had an incremental win that led to something, you know, bigger? Where you got, you had a higher degree of trust. Right. And now you're, you can do something that's even more impactful, as a result of getting that small win?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, I think it goes to the design that we're doing here. The visual design and the UX design together. Before we came here, they had the traditional design team handling this, the branding team. And although they're great designers, there wasn't, they weren't really connected to the user experience. What was happening on the on the website. So when we came in, we had to show them — in a gentle manner because we didn't want to disrupt the culture too much. And little by little, we started really gaining ground and edging the company more towards a very sophisticated look and feel. It took some time, but we were able to do it. And if you looked at how we looked like about a year ago and see what where we're at now — and we still have a lot of work to do, we're still a small team — but it's night and day. It's a sea change.

Joe Natoli:

I just called up the website. City Furniture. Very, very nice. How old is this company?

Kristin Currier:

About 40 years old.

Joe Natoli:

Wow.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. They started out as a waterbed company 40 years ago.

Joe Natoli:

Interesting. So what I'm seeing now you're saying is a radical departure from what was.

Kristin Currier:

Yes.

Joe Natoli:

Well, this is very... I mean, this looks like a top-tier retail brand.

Kristin Currier:

That's what we're shooting for.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah obviously. And it's remarkable. The reason I asked you about their age was because quite honestly it's very remarkable for a company that's 40 years old to have this kind of very strong commitment to UX, to design. To giving you guys the leeway to move things forward.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah it's, it's remarkable alright. And it's so cool to watch and be a part of. And that's part of where my gratitude stems from, is that I get to be here. I get to work with these people and create, you know, a more mature e-commerce and UX team. We're tiny now but you know, since I've been here, we've really expanded the development side. We brought on another data scientist and added more product owners. So I'm looking at this company just expanding and it's going to be wonderful to see what we accomplish in the next year. Next five years.

Joe Natoli:

I mean, it sounds fantastic. The environment that you're in certainly seems conducive to that kind of growth.

Kristin Currier:

Oh yeah, it's fun.

Joe Natoli:

Sure. So let's go here. In terms of what you think is on the horizon here — your growth, your expansion — what do you think that looks like? In a couple of ways. Right, in the outward-facing service of the company in terms of how it serves consumers, right? From Web site to retail to physical brick and mortar to maybe apps and things like that. But also the sort of makeup of the team. I mean what, how do you see that evolving from here.

Kristin Currier:

Wow.

Joe Natoli:

If you've had those discussions. I'm just curious.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. The possibilities are endless with this one. I see the team, and, when I worked for Office Depot I kind of saw a little bit of this too, because it was a while back and I was part of a very small team that grew extremely rapidly. So I have a little bit of a model that I've built up in my head. We'll see how close to reality it becomes. But I see this team really growing, probably doubling in size. We're talking about here hiring another designer and we're going to need a whole UX team, I know that for sure. We're going to be moving into mobile, augmented reality and really looking at user testing. We don't do any user testing right now, so we're sort of designing of the dark a little bit. So that's going to be on the horizon as well. We're looking at moving team members remotely so we're looking at our processes. We have a little bit of a mash up between how Google Design works and Agile and then Kanban. So it's a interesting mix that we've got going on and we're in... Almost like an experimental stage, where we'll see what works, what doesn't and we get rid of the things that don't work for us in our processes. And we move forward with the things that do. And eventually, that's going to allow us to be able to work remotely as well.

Joe Natoli:

Wow. You're making my heart beat fast right now.

Kristin Currier:

(laughter)

Joe Natoli:

You really are because I just... You don't know how much I love to hear that. And the fact that you're not saying "okay, we're following THIS specific process. We're doing this. And this. It's like NO, we're taking the things that work and it sounds like you're being ruthless about throwing out the things that don't work. Mash up is to me what every organization should be doing.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. Yeah. It's so cool and what's really awesome about this — and it goes back to the DIY punk rock thing — is that we're not afraid of failing. I mean maybe we are a little bit, I won't lie — but we're still going to do it anyway, you know.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah, but how big are you going to, are you really going to fail. You know what I mean?

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

It's not the kind of failure that will kill you.

Kristin Currier:

No.

Joe Natoli:

Since you don't do any user testing, what kinds of evidence or insights or investigation are you dealing with to sort of inform the decisions you make?

Kristin Currier:

Well we do have a small data team and we just started implementing A/B testing. And we brought on a content product owner, who is fantastic, and she's been doing a lot of tests for our home page. And we're starting out really small, like, just within the last month. And we'll be adding more testing as well. And the culture itself, we're very open to being wrong about our assumptions. At least I hope we are. So we get a lot of feedback from people and we try to listen, do a lot of listening to different people in the company. So the leadership, we listen to them, we listen to other designers on the team, we listen to our copywriters and we try to move from there.

Joe Natoli:

Which is the way to do it, right? Incremental testing. We're going to try this, we're gonna watch it, we're gonna measure it and we're gonna course correct.

Kristin Currier:

Right, exactly.

Joe Natoli:

In the absence of face-to-face with users — which, by the way, is not always absolutely necessary and you are proof of that — then you have to do something. So again, instead of sitting on your hands and saying "well, we don't have any access to end users." So what? Again, I just, I love hearing this stuff. I really do. How much... You mentioned sales beforehand. One of the things that I see a lot in organizations that sort of blows my mind — and I'm curious if it's been this way in the organizations you've worked with — nobody ever talks to sales. Nobody every talks to the sales people. They're never involved in UX or design discussions. And I cannot for the life of me understand why.

Kristin Currier:

Happens all the time.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. Big complaint that I would hear from sales people.

Joe Natoli:

Why do you think that is?

Kristin Currier:

We get in our own little bubble, I think. We get very used to who we're working with on the team and we get comfortable and sort of in a little bit of a bubble. And it almost becomes where, "we're corporate and they're in the store." And one of the cool things about where I'm at right now is that the store is in, you know, we're all together. We've got other stores but where we work is right now IN a store. So we get, we have access to, you know, the product and you know, we can actually see the customers and go out and talk to the sales people as well.

Joe Natoli:

So your offices are literally right in the store? Like maybe on top of it or something?

Kristin Currier:

On top of it, yes.

Joe Natoli:

Wow. That's fantastic.

Kristin Currier:

It's really cool.

Joe Natoli:

It's fantastic. I mean, so you're so you're seeing that, you have the opportunity lots of in lots of ways to see real-time what's going on.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. And access to the salespeople whenever we need them.

Joe Natoli:

How valuable is that access to you?

Kristin Currier:

Extremely valuable. And we have a customer care center on site. Those guys are amazing too, because they are fielding all the pissed off calls from customers. They are fielding all the delivery calls. All those things, so all the pain points and friction that people would experience they log for us and we have somebody on our team who works very closely with them. So we get a lot of feedback from them as well, as as well as from the head of sales.

Joe Natoli:

In terms of user experience, in terms of customer experience, right, in your environment now — and again you can lean on what you've done in the past as well in answering this — How important do you feel, and or have you seen, that transparency is between the company and the customer? In other words, where the customer doesn't feel like there is a shell game being played here. You know, that that you're not just after their wallets.

Kristin Currier:

Yes. Yeah I think I'm going to go back in time a little bit. When I was working with CompUSA, I was working with doing a lot space planning with them. So there's signage and the way they merchandise things and making a shoppable environment. There was a culture there where we almost never really listened to the stores.

Joe Natoli:

Wow.

Kristin Currier:

We had access. Our little team had access to the stores and whatever we designed, we would actually bring into the store and physically set it up. So we had that connection. And I got to talk to some of the sales people. And my husband even worked for the sales team at the time. And the common refrain throughout the whole sales team was that "nobody listens to us. Nobody cares." And eventually they went out of business.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah. Well, there you go.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. So it's very important.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah. I mean, I agree with that. What sparked that is listening you talk, and I recently had an experience where I just bought a new mattress. All right, here's... here's the exciting part of turning 50 and your back hurts and all sorts of things, is that you're thinking about your birthday coming up, right? And you're like oh what do I want for my birthday. How about a MATTRESS. How exciting is THIS. WHOOO! I'm living, I'm living the dream here. But but I had an experience at Sleep Number.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Right, I went to the sleep number store and I laid down in this bed and... It feels fantastic don't get me wrong. I mean it really was something. The way that it adjusts and they run me through all the different models and I test things out and I'm really, really, really impressed.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

And THEN I start asking questions about the warranty. Because they tell you well, we have a 25 year warranty. What I find out is that it's really not a 25 year warranty.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

It is a TWO year warranty. Oh and from year 3 to year 21, you pay 30 percent of any repair and replacement costs. Now, when a part costs upwards of 900 dollars and the labor required is maybe a couple hours, this is not a good deal. And then from year 21 to 25, you pay like 60 percent.

Kristin Currier:

Sneaky.

Joe Natoli:

Right? So not only is it sneaky, but here's what that tells me: that tells me the company is taking a calculated risk, OK? Between years three and 25, stuff is going to break.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

All right, that's why that policy is the way it is. And they don't tell you that until you really start digging and asking questions. You have to get three or four, "well, it's a prorated warranty, but it's the best warranty in the industry."

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

And I had to keep asking to get to the truth. And I thought OK, here's an opportunity for user experience, customer experience, where even if they were just upfront about that you know clearly transparently... My impression of the whole experience might have been very different.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

And I see a lot of the same thing in retail in particular. You know, these sales, the specials that get run. And when you really look into how it works, it sounds like buy one get one free, or it sounds like get 40 percent off — and then you look into it and it feels like "well, we're still going to take you for a ride here and make you think you're getting a deal."

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

And that doesn't seem to want to die. So to what degree have you experienced that, fought that, struggled with it...

Kristin Currier:

Only all the time! Even here, we struggle with that, because it's a culture... It's it's sort of ingrained old school way of doing things. It is hard. It's hard to break that culture. You know, it's hard to relearn these things and come from a different mindset when you're really thinking about people first, rather than trying to make a buck. So yeah. Every job I've had I've experienced that and usually I'm the one who's questioning it. And it can be a hard battle to fight.

Joe Natoli:

Out of curiosity, do you feel like there are any reasons — you know from the other side of the argument — that make sense to you? Where you sort of understand why they're clinging so tightly to this this sort of traditional misdirection kind of thing that they do.

Kristin Currier:

You know I want to, I want to say that my perception is that they're kind of stuck in a thing of "we've always done it this way."

Joe Natoli:

Yeah. So do you think it's habit?

Kristin Currier:

I do. I really do. And it's been working for them, kind of, for so long, why change it? You know, even though your people who are buying from you are changing. Their habits of buying are changing and they're getting smarter.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah. See, that always, that always feels like playing not to lose.

Kristin Currier:

YEAH...

Joe Natoli:

Instead of playing to win.

Kristin Currier:

Yes.

Joe Natoli:

Right? I mean because you think, "well you know, we've we've done pretty well in that and for the most part, you know, nobody calls us on it." And I don't mean in a mean, deceptive way. I mean it's just sort of... It's sort of safe. That's what's known. And they say, "well, it's worked. It's delivered this." And and I'm sure you find yourself in the same position, in those conversations I find myself being the person that says "Yeah, but what if you could do BETTER than that? What if you could do three times the business, simply by getting rid of this little part that really isn't cost you that much in dollars and cents and would go a million miles in making people feel like you're being honest with them?"

Kristin Currier:

Yeah .I feel like that's what our team is trying to do every day. We've got our own little battles that we fight. And something I've experienced with — and this is a pretty decent sized company and you know, a company like Office Depot which is even bigger — when that code of practice gets spread out in an organization that big... It's it's like playing a game of Whack-a-Mole because it's endemic. It's rooted in the system. And it's you gotta pick your battles wisely. Yeah. Or else you get tired.

Joe Natoli:

Or else what?

Kristin Currier:

You get tired.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah there's only so much energy to go around. Only so much energy to go around. I get e-mails all the time, right: Five percent off! You know, 5 percent? Are you serious? I'm not even moving out of this chair for five percent. You know, 10 percent. Like come on, who cares.

Kristin Currier:

Playing it safe.

Joe Natoli:

Give me a break. You've got 300 percent markup and you're going to give me 10 percent?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

I think there's an entire cross-section of people, consumers, who just don't buy that anymore.

Kristin Currier:

Not at all.

Joe Natoli:

So I understand you're still making X amount on those deals. But you can't tell me that they're returning the same way they were 10 years ago or 20 years ago. Right? I have never seen evidence of that.

Kristin Currier:

I think the cool thing with e-commerce in general and being on the team that I'm with right now is that having the ability to test our assumptions goes a long way. And we're able to do things that are sort of different from what everyone else is doing, and we can test and see if it works. You know, if we've got someone who's like "I want to push this 10 percent," or whatever and we're like, "no that's not going to get anyone going. Let's try this." We do have the ability to do that. Which is a great thing.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah, that's fantastic.

Kristin Currier:

And then we should show them the results and that's how change happens.

Joe Natoli:

Because you have the opportunity to put it out there and then pull it back equally as quick.

Kristin Currier:

Mm, hmm, absolutely.

Joe Natoli:

You know, no matter how it goes that's true. I mean, when you think about traditional brick and mortar retail and what it takes and what it used to take, pre internet.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

To roll out a campaign like that, or you know, to test a promotion.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

Good lord. Massive effort.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, it sure is.

Joe Natoli:

Massive effort. Out of curiosity... and we're probably hammering this topic a little bit. but that's OK. Out of curiosity, what's the difference in business between your online e-commerce and your in-store retail. In other words where's the majority of your revenue coming from and how is that shifting. Is it changing?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, it is shifting. I think the majority is coming — and I'm not a numbers person — but I do believe the majority is coming from the stores, because they've been around for a really long time and they do quite well. But e-commerce, we're catching up. Last month we... we consider ourselves a store too and we beat out all the other stores in the region.

Joe Natoli:

Wow.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. So we're ticking upward.

Joe Natoli:

That's fantastic. What, the reason I'm curious about that is because of the nature of what you sell.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Right, which is furniture.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Pretty hard, I think. I think there's still a general reluctance to buy certain types of products online, sight unseen.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah it's interesting, because there are some furniture companies like Joybird, I think they're exclusively online. So they're targeting a market that's much more comfortable buying large, you know, things like that online. And then there's Wayfair and they are all digital now. They're opening up their first brick-and-mortar store, I think, in Kentucky. So they're experimenting with a real store as well.

Joe Natoli:

I'd be curious to learn why that is. Because one of the things that always strikes me about online-only businesses is that you have to deal with shipping and return.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

And, by and large, there are a couple large organizations who have trained people to not want to pay for the expense. If I get something and there's a problem with it, or I don't like it, I want to be able to send it back to you. And I do not want to have to pay you for it.

Kristin Currier:

Exactly.

Joe Natoli:

That genie is very much out of the bottle. So I'm curious if there's, if there's an element of that for them where they're saying, "you know what? We gotta cut down on some of this churn." If they can't be Amazon — and I don't know whether they can't or can't, I don't know much about Wayfair —

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

But I'm really curious.

Kristin Currier:

And now Amazon selling furniture... so that mixes it up a bit right.

Joe Natoli:

I mean I just told you about mattress shopping, right. You talk to these online companies and they're saying, "hey, we'll ship it to your house and sleep on it for 100 days" and 365 days in one case.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

"And if you don't like it, we'll come get it." And you pay nothing.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

It's incredible.

Kristin Currier:

It is, it really is.

Joe Natoli:

Absolutely incredible. But it's the right tack. OK. Whether or not these companies survive, I really firmly believe it's absolutely the right approach. You are removing every possible barrier for someone to take the leap.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. And I think another thing I heard from a friend and also read online, a company like Joybird where they give you free swatches. So if you're thinking of buying this particular sofa and it's making you nervous that, "Well I don't know how I feel about buying something online. I don't know how it's going to look and feel." You get the swatches delivered to your house and you can see what it looks like and it gives you a little more sense of comfort, enough to make that purchase.

Joe Natoli:

Absolutely fantastic. I mean I think about, I'm going back to music now. I think about buying records, right? Way back when, records and cassettes, there was no try before you buy in any way.

Kristin Currier:

Nooo.

Joe Natoli:

Right? I mean, you looked at the album art and you went "OK, these guys look pretty cool. I think I'm going to take this home." And sometimes you won and sometimes you didn't.

Kristin Currier:

I did that all the time. It was one of my favorite things to do.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah, mine too. Were you ever a bargain bin person?

Kristin Currier:

Oh, absolutely. I love secondhand record stores, you'd always find me in, you know, some record store in Cambridge. Absolutely.

Joe Natoli:

I can remember going on a field trip in grade school. And we went to some mall for some reason. And I really don't know why. But I remember being late for the bus leaving, because I was in like Musicland or one of these these mall stores and they had a big, like an industrial drum-sized container that was just full of cassettes.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

And you literally had to put half your body in there and just sort of dig through and see what was in there. Because they were all like a dollar or two dollars.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

And that's... I'm that guy. I've always been that guy. I'm in there, I'm digging, right. And I remember they came up to me, they were like "What are you DOING?" And I'm like "looking for music, it's important." But the experience, I think, is part of that. The anticipation is part of that. The risk and reward is part of that.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, the discovery. You might discover something awesome.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah. Yeah. On the heels of that, do you feel the same, now that music is digital and it's so accessible now, that you can preview so much of it on your phone on your laptop or your everywhere? Has any of the mystery or excitement of that experience changed for you? Has it gone out?

Kristin Currier:

No, I don't think so. I really have a Spotify account which I love. And they have a feature, I think it's your daily mix or weekly and you click on that and just sort of taps into everything you've been listening to and it offers up new things. And I'm constantly being surprised by something I've never heard before. I just love that feature.

Joe Natoli:

Yup same here. I mean, I do the same thing.

Kristin Currier:

I listen to my friends, too, and they tell me "hey check out this band," I'm like "all right!"

Joe Natoli:

Yeah I just feel, like, for my personal opinion is I feel like people who say "well there's no there's no good music anymore, there's nothing new there's nothing." Like, are you KIDDING me?

Kristin Currier:

SO much good stuff out there.

Joe Natoli:

It's an incredible, it's an incredible time to be alive.

Kristin Currier:

Oh, yeah it is. It's wonderful.

Joe Natoli:

And as, you know... It may feel like we're getting off on, on a tangent here but that is the same as everything else we do in terms of user experience, no matter who we do it for.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Right? Part of what we're doing is enabling a connective experience. Where the action and reaction deliver something of sustained value, of joy, of experience. Of "yeah, I want that," or "wow, I didn't know this even existed," or "I didn't know this could do that," or... right? I mean it's all the same stuff.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. And it's all fun. It should be fun, right?

Joe Natoli:

Absolutely. Absolutely. It's not fun, why are we doing it?

Kristin Currier:

Exactly.

Joe Natoli:

Amen to that. So we are getting to the close of our hour. So now it is time for me to make your life difficult.

Kristin Currier:

All right. Give it to me.

Joe Natoli:

These are what I call hot seat questions. And it's just, you know, meant to give people a little more insight into you as a person. So question number one for you, Kristin, is what is a hidden talent that no one knows you have?

Kristin Currier:

Ummm....shoot.

Joe Natoli:

The clock is ticking.

Kristin Currier:

OK, so I'm really good at painting houses.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, I spent a summer as a house painter in New England and I'm really great with the paint brush. Plus I'm an artist.

Joe Natoli:

OK. What kind of art?

Kristin Currier:

I do a lot of scratchboard work, very detailed, realistic drawings of heroic women.

Joe Natoli:

Wow.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah. I'm a little OCD, I think all of us designers are, but I use an Exacto and I scratch into this board and you know, I'm basically etching into it and making it. I work pretty big too.

Joe Natoli:

That is awesome. Is your work online? Where people can see it?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, I've got a Web site, so.

Joe Natoli:

And that URL is?

Kristin Currier:

Oh, kristincurrier.com.

Joe Natoli:

OK. That is awesome. I went to school with some folks who were really into scratchboard.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

work. And they did the same way you're describing, with an Exacto knife. The detail, I've always been in love with the level of detail and scratchboard. I was never really very good at it. I really wanted to be.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

I'm a pen and ink guy for the most part and sculpture. But scratchboard impresses the hell out of me and I totally love looking at it. That is very cool. That is very cool. What is something that you believe about UX, or design — or anything connected to the work that you do or have done — something you believe that a lot of people you encountered don't agree with?

Kristin Currier:

Oh that's a tough one. And I was wondering if you were going to ask me that one because I really can't think of anything. I feel... OK. So here's a little, I know this is dipping back into the controversy of "should designers code," or whatever, but I do believe that designers should know a little bit of code. Maybe they don't have to code, you know, legitimately. They don't have to be a coder. But they should know how it works. They should know how to speak to the developers and how to build a relationship with them. And it helps to know that.

Joe Natoli:

Why?

Kristin Currier:

I think it informs you as a better designer or you have a designer on the team. I do know how to code. We hired a designer who does not know how to code. And she's exceptional. A lot of the stuff you're seeing on our home page is because of her. And the more she works with our developer and the more she learns, like, how he does things and designing to his grid and how it's going to look to tablet and mobile. The more... The better she becomes as a designer. And she doesn't have to know how or what he's doing. She just has to understand it.

Joe Natoli:

Right. How it works.

Kristin Currier:

Yes, how it works.

Joe Natoli:

Is it similar to a situation where, okay, if I'm a print designer, I need to understand something about how ink goes down on paper on a printing press?

Kristin Currier:

Exactly.

Joe Natoli:

Right, if you understand the output, you understand how to design properly for it.

Kristin Currier:

Right.

Joe Natoli:

And I totally agree with that. I mean, I've always agreed with that. Here's here's one of my favorites, because it's so hard. And someone turned it on me once and I HATED it. You're on a desert island...

Kristin Currier:

Oh, here it comes...

Joe Natoli:

Right?? I love it. And for reasons that defy the natural order of things, you have electricity. You can either have a movie or a piece of music that you have to listen to, you know, from now until eternity. Until you and everything else turns to dust. What's it going to be. Pick a movie or, in your case, a piece of music.

Kristin Currier:

I thought about this and I decided on Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.

Joe Natoli:

Ohhh...

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Can't go wrong.

Kristin Currier:

You just can't. It's my go-to every time. And I didn't like jazz when I was younger. It drove me crazy. And then someone turned me on onto that album and I've loved jazz ever since.

Joe Natoli:

Wow. Why didn't you like it when you were younger? Or... better question: What did you, what were you hearing when you were younger that turned you off?

Kristin Currier:

It's hard to say. I think it just... It was too slow or it was just too noodly for me. It was just too advanced, I guess maybe? Maybe maybe my ear wasn't acclimated to it

Joe Natoli:

Yeah, just weren't ready yet.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, it just felt annoying.

Joe Natoli:

Interesting. But now you love it, you're saying.

Kristin Currier:

I absolutely love it.

Joe Natoli:

Well, that's a hell of a pick. I'm staring at it right in front of me in my office. I've got a rack that my father, a wooden record rack that my father built. And the first three. It's like three stacked shelves. Here's what's in front of each shelf. At the very top, Miles Davis Kind of Blue. Second is a Love Supreme, John Coltrane. The third is John Coltrane Stellar Regions, which is a an exploration into the absolute far limits of what music can be.

Kristin Currier:

All great stuff.

Joe Natoli:

So it's killing me that that was your, that that was your choice. And it's right here, it's right in front of me.

Kristin Currier:

It's yeah, it's just a beautiful piece of music. It's just so well-balanced and it just reminds me of what I'd like to achieve as a designer. You know, just not trying too hard and just flowing and all the pieces to the right spots.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah and I agree with that. It's, as a recording it's just astoundingly natural.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

It just ...it just. IS... everything is exactly where it's supposed to be.

Kristin Currier:

Even the negative spaces, that's not a proper term to use in music, but like the pauses, those are so beautiful as well.

Joe Natoli:

Right. Amen. No, I think the parallel there to design in particular is massive.

Kristin Currier:

Yes.

Joe Natoli:

Awesome. Awesome choice, awesome choice. All right. I'm going to ask you one more question, which is also one of my favorites. At 49 now — being this far along in your career, having had lots of experience, lots of good, lots of bad, lots of otherwise I'm sure — if you could give your younger self, just starting out in your career, ONE piece of advice, what would it be?

Kristin Currier:

Oh boy. Piece of advice. That is a tough one.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah, it is. I don't know, you know, Kristin... 20 years ago.

Kristin Currier:

I work with a lot of people who are 20 years younger than me right now. I'm probably the oldest one on the team and if I could give them any advice...

Joe Natoli:

There you go.

Kristin Currier:

And they're brilliant. These are some of those brilliant people I've ever worked with. Change. Get comfortable with it. It's going to happen. You know, be willing to listen to people. Talk outside of your scope, you know. Get outside of your bubble and talk to other people. If you don't like how something is working, you don't understand why somebody is doing something, go and ask questions. Don't just assume.

Joe Natoli:

Do you think that, do you think that kind of thing is universal and related to age?

Kristin Currier:

Yeah, I think it goes both ways.

Joe Natoli:

I could see that.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah absolutely. Everyone is guilty of doing it. We're human.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah. Yeah, and it sort of seems like, I always wonder what it is that everybody has to go through that process for themselves. Before they, before they sort of get it. I don't know what that is. We can't, we can't just take the advice when it's given. You know? I don't know why that is.

Kristin Currier:

I thought about it and I think people just get used to how they want to be right. And they want to be in control. And they also don't want to look bad if they're wrong. You know, so that sort of sets you up to keep you in your bubble. You've got to be a little... you have to be willing to break outside of that, be willing to be wrong, be willing to look a little messy.

Joe Natoli:

Amen to that. And on that note I think we're going to call it.

Kristin Currier:

Alright!

Joe Natoli:

Because it doesn't get any better than that. Seriously, I think it's an excellent piece of advice. It's something that a lot of people spend the majority of their lives trying to get to.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

And it's a worthy battle. It's a worthy climb.

Kristin Currier:

It's courageous, really, when you dare yourself to do it.

Joe Natoli:

Yeah, absolutely.

Kristin Currier:

Yeah.

Joe Natoli:

Kristin, I cannot thank you enough for your time today. This was wonderful.

Kristin Currier:

Thank you so much for everything you do for all of us.

Joe Natoli:

I appreciate that. You are very welcome, and understand that I learn as much from all of you as you learn from me... And probably more.

Kristin Currier:

Thank you.

Joe Natoli:

All right. Have a great rest of the day. Have an awesome weekend.

Kristin Currier:

All right!

Joe Natoli:

And go forward confidently.

Kristin Currier:

Thank you, Joe.

Joe Natoli:

All right Kristin, take care.

Kristin Currier:

Bye

Joe Natoli:

Bye.

Speaker 1:

That wraps up this edition of Making UX 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 out there. Before I go, I want you to know that you can find show notes and links to the things mentioned during our conversation by visiting givegoodux.com/podcast. You'll also find links to more UX resources on the web and social media along with ways to contact me if you're interested in sharing your own story here. Until next time this is Joe Natoli, reminding you that it's people like you who make UX work.