Wednesday, June 13, 2012

UX: Taking the Unexpected in Stride

A woman walks up to a bar, spots some people she knows, and heads for the edge of the group where there is an empty stool next to a friendly looking guy. His buddy is off somewhere, leaving a blue drink on the counter. The woman slides onto the stool and starts friendly conversation. The guy is very nice, pleasantly surprised at her arrival and seems quite happy to chat, indicating that yes, his friend will be back in a few minutes and it is no problem to take his stool. The woman and the nice guy spend  5- 10 minutes in chipper conversation, during which time the buddy whose blue drink awaits, comes up and oh so politely sits down on the other side and hangs out quietly. The woman apologizes to the blue drink guy for taking his stool; everyone is in a particularly friendly mood and the nice guy seems oh so pleased to be having this conversation with the woman.

Wondering when the formal presentation she drove out for will start, the woman notices that some of the people she knows are wandering off towards a back room near the bowling lanes. She turns to her new friend and asks when he thinks the presentation will begin. He says he doesn't know. She asks if this is his first time at a UX Speakeasy meetup.

Nice Guy: "What?"
Woman: "The UX meeting"
Nice Guy: "UX?"
[It is a bit noisy in the bar area - hard to hear]
Woman: "User Experience"
Nice Guy: "Where is that?"
Woman: "Here, the UX Meetup"
Nice Guy: "Where are you from?"
Woman: "Here, we are all from here"
Nice Guy: "I see" [smiling cheerfully]
Woman: "Are you part of the UX group?"
Nice Guy: "No" [still very happy to be in this conversation]


I made a polite, rapid exit.

Fortunately, the topic of the meeting this evening was Work-Life Balance. Having some fun.

I subsequently spoke to a woman named Susan Lee who told me about an app her company has developed called "Period Tracker", which can be used to track one's menstrual cycle. It has a calendar which predicts your next Period, and a way to list symptoms such as bloating, headache, acne and cravings. Apparently popular with those trying to get pregnant, the app can be used to track basal body temperature. I'm wondering if the UX Gods were having a good time with me this evening - from accidentally almost picking up a nice guy in a bar to learning about a mobile app that tracks hormonal activity.

Later we all went bowling! I observed Gini Keating (a UX R&D professional) kick butt on the bowling lane, aided by a special technique of sensing the aura of the bowling balls. 

Ok, that wasn't what she says she was doing, but nonetheless she had a knack for picking the best ball.

A great evening out working. And playing.

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