I have always wanted to be Geordi LaForge, the chief engineer on Star Trek: The Next Generation. While Picard worked out psychological quandaries with other lifeforms, Geordi kept his focus on the thing that kept them in space in the first place.
My favorite scenes are when Geordi figured out how to save the ship by rejiggering the phase inducers with the trans-warp drive – or something like that. Fucking brilliant. Geordi’s expertise impressed me more than Picard’s monologues or Ryker’s trombone solos. Geordi didn’t have hobbies, he didn’t even take time off work.
I’m the Senior Front-End Developer at my agency for a few more days and then I’ll be trading hats for the title UX Architect. When I tell people at my company about my new role, I get some strange glances, like Geordi just told the crew that he’ll be the new ship’s councilor. Councilor Troi was an empath. This was like having the mutant power of boredom. Empathy never saved the ship. And even Commander Data, the robot who couldn’t feel things, gave same quality of advice that Troi gave. I don’t know she got a seat next to the captain, but gender politics were pretty strange in the 90’s.I’ve traded coding for customer satisfaction surveys.
Like Councilor Troi, empathy is a big part of UX.Another big part of UX is bullshit. The term is dangerously meaningless.Meaning it can lead to conclusions like “if she floats, she must be a witch”. Anyone who has empathy can do UX. Even Commander Data could do UX. Another problem is that UX is incredibly subjective so it’s hard to pin down dollar value to it. Personas and qualitative research ensure that the thing being made solves the client’s problem. “Problem-finding over problem-solving1” requires empathy. But is it as important as producing code?
Eric Dahl’s UX Axioms↩