Author Archives: tputkey

Everyone has to pay their dues…

Sometimes, in my less stellar moments, I wonder if I will always have bad projects. You look at the “stars” of the IA/IxDA community and they always talk about really cool projects, but they don’t really talk about all the bad projects they’ve worked on.

I’m not talking bad as in the client being difficult with the design, but more in terms of:

  • A design can only be as good as it is designed AND implemented. What you might express in your design may not translate if the programmer doesn’t know the latest and greatest.
  • A design can only be as well defined as the vision is. You can sometimes try to get a client to focus, but sometimes it is impossible to get consensus and vision, written requirements. It’s also difficult to get people to stay away from changing visions.

As a freelancer, the years have given plenty of clients and projects. When I have a rash of bad projects (where, for me, I feel I am not creating the best I can create given the situation), I start to feel that “maybe it’s me.” In my quiet, sad moments, I think “Maybe I’m just not that great at what I do.”

And, coming back to those “stars,” they must have been low on the totem pole at one point in time; must have had bad projects (those not worth mentioning but were typically frustrating and de-motivating).

This morning I was trying to console myself with Happy Bunny thinking: “It’s not me, it’s you. If you weren’t so stupid, I wouldn’t hate you so much.” (or something like that)

Tell me if I’m a bad Person

After having done years of UI design, requirements analysis, content writing, I’ve decided something: I do not like requirements gathering and writing. Much preferred is the creative work at the beginning – user analysis, business analysis, interviewing users, personas, scenarios, UI design, navigation, content models, planning structures.

But when it comes to the nitty gritty “email validation rules” and “auto-numbering schemes” and “what happens if a and b and c happens…” and “what happens if a and b and z happen,” I easily tire. I’ve always known I’m not a details person, that I much prefer the up front creative work and like to hand off to someone to wrap things up.

Does this make me a bad user experience person? Isn’t the devil in the details? Aren’t the details where people get tripped up? Should I be paying more attention, be involved longer?

What do you think?


Who says conference shwag doesn’t come in handy?

From Theresa:

User Experience professionals are problem solves. Today I solved a problem.

The building I’m in is a “heritage building” meaning that you can’t make upgrades to it without city approval. The toilet is broken and breaks about 4 times a year because it’s a residential grade toilet, not commercial grade. Plus, parts for it aren’t being made anymore, so the handyman can’t fix it. Right now, the situation in one of the washrooms is that the handle on the toilet is broken but also the piece of plastic on the inside of the toilet that connects the handle to the thing that pulls up to empty the tank is broken. Plus the lid doesn’t fit properly so the water from the refiller thing sprays all over the toilet seat.

Today I took the name tag string thing – the thing that goes around your neck – off of my IA Summit badge, attached it to the thing inside the toilet that is broken, and draped it over the outside of the toilet tank. I propped the lid delicately on the tank so the water doesn’t spray so much. We’ll see how long it holds.

This is a clear example of taking something from the IA Summit and putting it to use.

Update: 12:27pm Pacific time:

We have to take pictures to further prop up our case as to why the toilet should be fixed and should take precedence over other problems.

We took pictures – can you find the conference shwag?

Update: 2:33 pacific time:

Holy crap there’s a duck in the toilet!

Right justified menus…

Jakob Neilsen has a post about right justified menus:

And hey, look at my website!

Yeah, I know, I want to fix it, but I don’t know enough PHP. I’ve tried to fix it, but I broke it…



I added some widgets to the site: the admin with the RSS feed, tagosphere, categorosphere, people on the blog (who are authors, but you can change it to all if you want), search, recent posts.

I’ve really gotta upgrade my own site to the latest version of WP. It’s cool.

I do have something to say

I was walking down the st, thinking about this template for our site, and I have to stay that I don’t like it. Why? Because it doesn’t have a link to the site admin and I have to type it into the URL and for some other reason that I now forget – oh no, i remember – because it doesn’t show the author in the post.

From what i understand, we can’t change a template so we might need to pick another template. am i correct? i tried to find where i could add the link in the template, but couldn’t find a way to edit the template.




I have nothing to say

Theresa here, I have nothing to say.

Well, I suppose it was fun to meet you all and hang out and talk about Stone Crab claws.