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Photo by Patryk Grądys on Unsplash

TL;DR: A public exercise aimed at UX Designers looking for an enterprise/complex system project to add to their portfolio.

The long version: Many UX juniors maintain portfolios consisting of a couple of mobile apps and a trivial marketing website or two. No matter how good they are, they all look the same and they are practically indistinguishable from each other from a prospective employer’s point of view. The main thing that they typically lack is an example of a real challenge, a UX task that’s difficult to just copy-paste from an existing product, or, worse, Dribbble, give it a fresh…


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Photo by mari lezhava on Unsplash

Tediousness

During my college freshman and sophomore years I made my living translating academic papers, mostly English to Hebrew. Probably the first thing that strikes you when you first lay eyes on an academic paper, is that each and every claim must be backed by a reference (Mijiritsky, V., 2020). And if there’s just the one reference, that’s a sure sign that you didn’t review your literature properly (krk, 2014), you have no idea what you’re talking about, and in all likelihood you have a tendency to make up wild claims like that of the Sun rising in the East…


Some of the things that delight me the most are nifty little UX gems which take standard, familiar components, with their standard, familiar, habitually tolerated flaws, take one step back to reexamine them, and then say “Hey, if we did this just this tiny bit differently, we could make some of these problems a tiny bit better”. So here are two bits that got done, and also one that got away.

The Colorful Bit

Most people who had the chance to design a dashboard have run into the following situation — the user can go through a list of parameters…


In the previous chapter — Lech-Lecha — a great call to action converted Abraham into relocating, Abraham made the Egyptians develop the wrong mental model, Rivka showed enough flexibility to let her husband have a baby with the maid, and all the males in Abraham’s household had to cut it short(er).

God lets Abraham know that he’s decided to destroy Sodom. Abraham is trying to get him to spare the city by looking for righteous people in it.

Come to think of it, what does Abraham care about Sodom? I’d understand if it was a nice place, but this is…


God tells Abram to move to Canaan.

Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. This is one of the earliest examples of a Call to Action (CTA) known to man. Calls to action are ubiquitous in the field of marketing websites and simple apps, where you can be pretty sure why the user entered a specific screen and what do we want her to do next. …


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(This story is also available in Hebrew)

In the previous section a bunch of stuff happened. The world got created, Adam and Eve misbehaved and got banished from the Garden of Eden, Cain misbehaved and got cursed, the whole of humanity misbehaved and got doomed. Except for Noah, that is. Today’s section takes it from there.

Noah receives detailed specifications for the construction of the Ark.

As soon as Noah receives the specs, he immediately gets to work. He doesn’t ask any questions, doesn’t doubt the instructions given to him, follows them blindly. Well, to be honest, it doesn’t look…


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Adam and Eve — User Journey Map (After Michiel Coxie [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

What is this?

This is, basically, cheating.

I’ve been writing about UX for over a decade now (mostly in Hebrew), and most of my pieces, at least the better ones, have been inspired by non-UX events, which had struck some UX-related chord prompting me to write. The past year had been so busy that I’ve had no time to write. When I tried to get back in the saddle, I hit a serious writers block. So I’ve decided to find a source of inspiration that would last me a while and feed me a variety of subjects at regular intervals.


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BY NC-ND 2.0 / Spamily on Flickr

1.

On a quiet evening, after Ron fell asleep and the stars filled the sky, all of the boy’s toys opened their eyes and wondered at the room in disbelief. They could not recognize the room at all! The room was a huge mess: the toy chest was upturned and the entire floor was littered with toys!

“We can’t go on like this”, said Teddy Bear. “Every day Ron turns the room upside down so it is impossible to find anything. We must find a way to stop it!”

“That’s right”, said Flowery Alligator, “one day he will simply lose all…


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One of the most helpful analogies in my everyday coping with the UX world, is that of the Cargo Cult.

To those unfamiliar with the term, the Cargo Cult is a phenomenon observed in the islands of the Pacific after some more advanced civilizations had turned them into a kind of Airbnb during WWII. From the islanders’ point of view, one statistically sunny day a fleet of enormous alien-looking ships pulled up to the islands, carrying strange people and stranger machines. Both proceeded to set up airstrips, which seemed to attract huge metal birds, introducing the islanders to the joys…


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CC BY-ND2.0 // Tambako on Flickr

Whenever people find out that I majored in Psychology, they ask how I ended up “in computers”, since in most people’s minds psychology equals couch plus notepad. As soon as I break into my usual speech about UX being little more than a digital branch of Human Factors Engineering, and about HFE having evolved from Psychology, they cut me off: “Ah, right, UX is about knowing what users think”. This makes me wish I could refer them to Prof. Nachshon Meiran from Ben Gurion University, who in 2002 wasn’t yet a full professor but “just” a PhD.

Back in 2002…

Vitaly Mijiritsky

Seasoned UX designer & researcher

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