I love movies. I love quoting movies. I also love UX. What do these things have in common?
I am not speaking of UX lessons learned from working in Hollywood or on a film, rather, what lines in films inspire my every day work. Here are five quotes that help me when I design, make decisions, interact with people, and navigate through the ever present interoffice politics.
- Jurassic Park
You were so preoccupied with whether or not you could you didn’t stop to think if you should.
I have this image hanging up in my cubicle because it is so relevant in the world of software development. How many times have we worked on a feature that was never used because we could but we never stopped to ask if we should? The technology is there but will be people use it? Will it be helpful for their workflow? Is it something they need? Are we providing everything they do need before we develop something they do not necessarily require? As UX, it is critical that we stop to ask these types of questions before we jump into design.
2. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
A man may be the head of the house, but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head any way she wants.
I love this movie and I love this scene but you may be wondering what this has to do with anything related to UX. Replace the word “woman” with UX and you will begin to understand. As a user experience designer we generally work with a someone in a product owner or technical lead role who is working on generating feature requirements for the tool, and we need to work very closely with that particular individual to make sure that requirements get completed to provide the most benefit to the end user.
I think of this quote often, not to undermine anyone’s work, but as a reminder that we are very closely linked with those making decisions for the users and that we must make sure we are making the best possible decisions with the lead to benefit the team and the end users. We are leaders in our own right through making design decisions, meeting with users and researching, defining what needs to be accomplished, and how to resolve people’s pains with their tools. Design and UX is not always seen as important as development so in many cases we still must work with our leads to make sure our voices are heard.
That’s Tron. He fights for the users.
We are all Tron. We fight bad design, deflect unnecessary requirements, and always keep the user in mind.
4. The Muppets Take Manhattan
Peoples is Peoples.
There is a small running gag in Muppets Take Manhattan where Pete has this speech where he repeatedly states “Peoples is Peoples” in broken English and that no one really quite understands what his trying to say. To me, this phrase is twofold:
Firstly, as a user experience designer, I spend a large portion of my time behind a computer screen trying to make guesses about what the amorphous “user” could possibly want. I need to stop myself and realize that the “user” is peoples. I am not just trying to make something pretty, rather, I am trying to make something that many, many people are going to be looking at. I try to relay this to others on our team. The further we are from the user the more we forget they are just people.
The other portion is that we, as people in the technology field, always expect that people will think the same way as us. But the reality is that people are individuals, and as individuals, everyone thinks differently and approaches things differently. What we all share is our ability to feel and think, and UX is just as much about feeling as it is research.
5. Galaxy Quest
Never give up. Never Surrender.
I am not going to lie: things can get rough out there in the UX wilds. Maybe your design was not received as well as you hoped, maybe you are not able to make decisions based on the best interest of the end users, or maybe you feel stranded on your project or frustrated with your customer. Just remember that you’re doing this for the benefit of others, for the greater good, and never EVER give up!
Are there any movie quotes that you find applicable to your work? Share them in the comments!