An Apple Store Excursion, A Twitter Thread Moved

Moving a Twitter thread here, in part to explore what hasn’t kept up with our mental abilities

1/ Went to a local @Apple store for one of their Today @ Apple events today; surprised how many folks were just in the store at that time of morning.

Just some thoughts about the time, the space, and what about Apple many can miss

2/ I had not understood this event as a moment to get specific Apple tech assistance for projects you are working on (I treated it as a coworking space). To that end, I got a less out of it for *work* needs.

I got a ton of UX & SDX research out of it.

3/ There seems to be a decent (not perfect, but decent) understanding from Apple here that their products are so transformative, that those who sell it should be the better advocates of their best usages.

The rep as this one was great; could easily be a trainer & product manager

4/ Nicely saw Apple’s tech being used not just as “help me do a project” but also as “tell me how you’ll figure this out.” The other folks at the desk had to contribute, not just glean.

The “trainer” side of me smiled often hearing this.

5/Now, my setup is way different. Was working in Paper/Adobe Comp/Trello/Slack while there. I was left to my own devices, yet also invited in on other convos to contribute what I’ve learned along the way.

As a learning space… this made it much less store & much more town center

6/ Other reps were busy w/other clients whether it was Genius appointment or class; but definitely was some method to segment the needs spatially.

That worked well right until someone tuned a HomePod all the way up. Easy to be distracted by the amount of traffic.

7/ Was so easy to sign up for classes (they are free) that one of the folks at my table signed up for the next in the class we were in.

Was clear the focus was on getting the most out of the purchase, not to purchase more. Even-handed product selling.

8/ Should note: this wasn’t a tech support thing. This was a “help me figure out how to do this on my device” thing. A few folks being reoriented to that fact would be norm for this; but that didn’t happen *in the event*

Support isn’t enablement…

9/ Lastly… its hard as all get out to sit in that store for an hour and not buy something. I didn’t (this time). But sheesh… that’s tough.

These classes are perfect for those not able to give time to family members who need the occasional help. I’ll be better about recommending


I said this much on Twitter after seeing another’s thread pushed into Medium and will repeat and extend here:

I don’t it needs to be said, but for a segmented threads like this, Google Wave would have been perfect to (a) see this as a whole — aka, the Medium view, and (b) see these as seperate statements — aka the tweetstorm.
This has “margin-notes characteristics,” computing UI doesn’t

Of the many things I noticed while doing a piece of my workday at Apple, was that we are still asking people to think and act like machines, instead of doing what comes to us naturally. Where we want to touch and move, machines make us user mice, keyboards, and styli. Where we want to simply ask a question, we must bend towards validations, authentication scripts, and tip-toe around the various (and sometimes nefarious) agents in between us and receiving a simple message. Its still too hard to be human and also engage humanely into computing.

My time there was spent doing a slice of work on a tablet computer that seems impossible for those who know computing. Yet, I’m not just productive, I’m excelling. The things which are being done happen closer to the generation of them in my mind/at my fingertips than what’s allowed. And yet, its no where near perfect. Now, I’m not arguing for neural interfaces, but not arguing against them either. But, there’s certainly something to be said for being closer to what we do naturally, rather than being closer to what someone who thinks they know what’s best for us does.

When a woman who had a MacBook Pro and 12in iPad Pro in front of her asked “what’s the difference,” the representative could only speak to specs, not what’s closer to the user. Now yes, I could have spoken up, pulled a piece of the empathetic-UX guy out and met the woman’s need (“what will enable me to do stuff like that the way I want to be able to do it”). I didn’t. I listened to a knowledgeable trainer give what she knew — how to be like the machine that gives the closest-to-intended output. I’m not sure that’s the right direction, even if the software and its associated interfaces haven’t exactly caught up to the way we think/act… how intuitive we actually go about this life.


Which gets me to why this now lands here. I wanted to scribble in the margins for Steven’s piece just as much as I wanted to comment and annotate the tweets when I originally read them.

Yes. We are indeed making some decent progress with devices and services which enable many to communicate and connect in ways generations before would have equated with being a god. Yet, these methods, behaviors, and the tethers they directly and indirectly create continually put those who cannot create, cannot separate, or cannot be educated enough to manipulate in a bind. We are only as communicative as the tools in front of us. And for many, that will never be enough. It will never be humane-enough to be more than just another tool.

User experience is an orientation that our tools must respect our humanity. There’s still some ways to go before that happens. A few into Apple’s methodology of getting people there is just one view of many. Until humanity (ethics, security, humor, etc.) are just as much a part of everyone’s toolset — not just developers and their companies — we may continue to simply have priests in front of an altar, developing for us a language for us to simply say, “we are human, and this is how I’m expressing my humanity today.”

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