–Engage

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

It will come … well, maybe

Finally got 2 seconds on my friend’s iPad today. Can’t walk into Best Buy because I don’t trust myself. I played with it for maybe 5min tops and a lot of that time was with my little boy tuggin’ at my sleeve saying, “What’s this?” So this is by no means a review.

Despite being accused of being a “total fanboy” (something I don’t understand since until a month ago I never owned a mac my entire life) I was really skeptical of the iPad. I just knew though that until I touched it, my opinion was going to be quite stupid. I was skeptical for a few reasons:

  • The hardware made me feel like it was just a big iPod Touch.
  • I was REALLY upset w/ the lack of capture tools (no camera or mic)
  • And like Robert Fabricant pointed out on Fast Company recently the OS felt really like a step up from the phone OS. This felt like something MS would do about 5 years ago.

So I finally got to pick it up. I have to admit I wasn’t wowed. I don’t think I”m really the market for it. Maybe if I didn’t already have my netbook that I’m using now beautifully with @jolicloud running I might be.  I don’t watch a lot of movies and I’m not a big reader. I have tried to tell myself that maybe I would read more if I had an e-reader, but my wife won’t let me test that out and to be honest, I think she’s right on this one. Oh! I am also not a big gamer. Lastly, I live on my iPhone. I type blog entries, really long emails, do task lists, etc. So I don’t need something bigger just to type better, faster on it.

But that’s me and that’s not the point of this. Not every tool has to be for everyone. But that’s not the point here either.

What I noticed in all this that for some reason struck me harder than in previous work I’ve done in similar spaces myself is how important trust is to the design process. I look at the iPad and I realize that few organizations could do it. Not b/c of lack of talent or lack of skill, but because of lack of trust. Now I could flip this and say that Steve Jobs is capable of seeing the future, but I really doubt that. He definitely has vision and enables vision with his team, but seeing vision through takes trust. A manager and all the team members have to sit back and say, “It will come” and they have to know that “It’s ok if it doesn’t.”

That’s a HUGE deal. There are few environments that I have worked in in either software or hardware that has that freedom of time and failure. Or truly the impossibility of failure because of the freedom of time.

Along with this, I will add the importance of building it to know. Only in using it can we know the true value of interactivity. To me this has been the largest failure of most UX practices where the UX designer never builds anything. How can they know the success of their design if it cannot be used. If you are working on anything more complex than a standard info-site then as a designer it needs to be played with, touched, manipulated, transacted with to be understood and validated as successful.

Tools have come out lately that help this cause, but the processes of UX designers are still too wrapped up in the wastefulness of tools that are way too static. The only static 2D images we produce should be sketches. Anything else after that has to be interactive. If you can’t make it interactive at any level of richness then find a partner who can or get yourself a relatively cheap subscription to lynda.com and figure it out.

The only way that “It will come” is if you build it.

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