When solving a problem, it’s easy to get lost in the process. As more variables are introduced, it can be hard to keep everything straight and predict where you’ll end up. This is especially prevalent in UX or service design projects where astute organization and accurate documentation mean the difference between an innovative solution and absolute failure.
It’s 3 months after your company’s new product launches and there seems to be an ominous feeling permeating through the cubicle walls. Then it hits your inbox, an email emblazoned with a red exclamation point and the subject line “ATTN Product Team: Staff Meeting.” Clicking in, you see the somewhat passive-aggressive message from your director stating that the team is about to get slammed. The product launch has been a near failure and changes need to be made ASAP. It’s crunch time.
Every morning at around 7.30 AM, I’m greeted by the friendly – although somewhat anxiety-inducing – ping of my Outlook inbox. As I struggle to keep my eyes open, around 35 new emails demand my attention with their little blue unread bubbles. While sifting through my inbox, I notice how different each piece is. From long, detailed notes to agency stakeholders to internal newsletters to large corporate announcements, each communication has a particular style. Some have a very stuffy and detailed voice while others are more conversational. Although all of these pieces have a different purpose and voice, they all are forms of business writing.
Digital media has changed the way we create and communicate stories to one another. From Snapchat blips to WordPress blogs, content creators need to conform their message to the stipulations of the platform. Natively, shorter more impactful content has been shown to perform better with audiences. Although long-form pieces have been regaining their popularity and effectiveness, not every reader will want to dedicate the time to mull through a 1,500+ word article.
A picture is worth a thousand words. This is a phrase we have all heard at least a thousand times, but sometimes we need to be reminded that a picture is more than just what meets the eye. Only a little over 100 years ago, people believed that everything they saw in photographs was true. As long as the photograph was taken where and when the caption says it was, it was generally thought to be accurate and, at times, even more reliable than the testimony of a human eye witness (Ritchin, 1985). This mindset is now few and far between in today’s society. Nothing – not even a smiling selfie – can be published without meeting extreme scrutiny from the receiving public.
As a society, we are always looking to learn things faster and simpler. Exerting the least amount of energy as possible is a MUST. When presented with a wall of information, I admit that even I cringe and then proceed to Google various sources in order to find somewhere that will tell me exactly what that novel of an article was trying to say in bite-sized chunks. It is arguable that I might have gotten my answers quicker had I just sat there and read through the entire article – but does that mean I would have understood it?
For the past six weeks, I have been honing my ideation and prototyping skills in order to create an app for my hometown of Hillsborough, NJ. Why would a township need an app? Good question. I believe that a township app could help maximize their communication efforts for a fraction of the cost of what they are currently doing. Although the project would require budget, the township throws away so much money by creating paper flyers, posters, sandwich boards, and other forms of advertising that just doesn’t reach the intended audiences.