“So, Mommy … what did you do at work today?” my four-year old thoughtfully asked one evening. In an attempt to put it into terms she would understand I paused, smiled and said this “I did a little drawing, I did a Show & Tell, I brainstormed with some of my friends, I made a chart, I talked on the phone, I did a little math… thank you for asking.” To which she replied “Hey – that’s what I did today, but don’t forget snack.”
Although the facets of my job are more complex than I described to my daughter, I was delighted to be able to explain it so simply in terms she could understand.
Sketching is a crucial skill for an Experience Designer. I am by no means an artiste, but I have reached back to that place in time where drawing was fun and despite initial resistance to “drawing” I thoroughly enjoy the paper/pencil part of the UX design process. Wait, colored pencils are involved? Even better!
Presenting research findings or an initial conceptual design is akin to a child’s Show & Tell. You think about what you’re going to say, you bring artifacts (even if they are digital) and speak (sometimes around a table) about a topic on which you have some level of expertise. Usually you field questions from your audience and hopefully, everyone leaves the circle knowing a little bit more about their customers or are closer to a new design direction.
I realized that while she does most of her out-of-the-home learning, socializing and communicating in her adorably campy Montessori classroom, that some of what she learns is from children’s television programming.
For example, on Sid, The Science Kid on PBS, they sing a song called I Love Charts, teaching children about Infographics: I Love Charts – Sid the Science Kid
“I like checking out charts, cause charts rule, A chart is a handy dandy scientific tool, It gives you information you can see with your eyes. A chart lets you visualize. You get the picture - So do I!
May I please draw your attention to this weather chart, I tell you this chart is a work of art. I see clouds on Friday and rain on Monday, And look there’s gonna be sun on Sunday!
I like checking out charts, cause charts rule, A chart is a handy dandy scientific tool, It gives you information you can see with your eyes. A chart lets you visualize. You get the picture - So do I!
How many kids like a dog or a cat? Who wears a hoody and who wears a hat? Making a chart of what people eat Some charts look like a pie and you know that’s sweet!
I like checking out charts, cause charts rule, A chart is a handy dandy scientific tool, It gives you information you can see with your eyes. A chart lets you visualize. You get the picture - So do I!”
On Disney’s Imagination Movers, on every show they have a problem to solve, AKA an “Idea Emergency.” They sing a song about the basics of Brainstorming: Brainstorming – Imagination Movers
“We need good ideas, and we need them now. So put your heads together and we’ll write them down. There’s no bad ideas when you’re brainstorming. I can count on you and you can count on me, to make our ideas a reality. There’s no bad ideas when you’re brainstorming. Brainstorming here and brainstorming there. Brainstorming upside down or sitting in your easy chair…. So reach high. Think big. Work hard. Have fun!”
Of course there are other aspects of being an experience designer that I shielded her from. No preschooler should have to know what a spreadsheet is. But I am profoundly proud of the work that I do and after I explained it to my daughter, I know she is too.