Have you ever played a game involving a blindfold? Even in a familiar environment like your home, it really forces you to use your other senses instead of sight; which I believe most of us use for navigation. After bumping a few times into walls, tripping on corners, chairs and whatsoever, you slow down and start sweeping with your arms and legs in order to form an understanding of your surroundings.

By the end of the game, I usually have cursed the person (read: myself) to the lowest pits of hell for placing furniture with the seeming goal of blocking any reasonable path.

Similar thing happens easily at work as well – when your knowledge of the system increases and you learn the logic and process behind the system, you easily use them without any form of criticism. I am used to this and I can do it easily and even quickly.

So why should I complain?

Let’s also put a blindfold on at work – I don’t mean literally, even as amusing that might be for your colleagues. But instead remove your sense of control. Instead of doing things yourself, watch someone else to do them. Use a different sense to unravel things and to understand.

In its simplest form, this is ridiculously easy to accomplish. Just promise your chosen colleague a free round after-work, give him or her a list of scenarios to accomplish, ready your chosen screen and voice capture application, and off you go. During the recorded session your hardest task is to poke the “doer” with questions like “what are you thinking” or “what would you do next” in order to keep him/her speaking continuously and explaining reasons for his/her actions.

I always, really seriously always, end up questioning myself with things like “why on earth did I not find that complexity in the system” or “this can be done SO much better if we remove that one aspect.” – Simple, yet an extremely powerful way to improve your usability.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and let someone else test it for you.


Your grand-slacker a.k.a Teemu Selkälä

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