Weeknote 19/48

This week the team and I focussed on a demo. Our audience was the usual Wednesday crowd: product owners of various teams that will be future users of the platform we are shaping.

The demo was part Sketch click dummy, part HTML prototype . It illustrated a user journey with two interlocutors, spread over three different touchpoints.

I really like producing demos like this. First of all, there’s a deadline. Time limits are always helpful – at least for me. A little stress makes me sharper.

Secondly, it forces you to make decisions and go with them. You don’t show seven different drafts. It’s a demo, you have to choose the one which you think is best and present it with confidence. All those unanswered questions, those nagging doubts, the awareness that something could be better, but you don’t know how yet… you have to ignore all of it for the time being. That’s liberating.

And lastly, I love storytelling. Maybe a bit too much. Having continuity in all the screens up to the last detail is a matter of course. Names and products all have to match and be realistic, but also minor details like the time in the top bar of the users mobile phone. If a sequence in a click dummy is supposed to be 2 minutes in real life, then the clock should reflect that.

However, I often go beyond that, just for my personal amusement. Easter eggs, innuendos, inside jokes… no demo without them.

The chances that someone will notice them are very, very slim. But that’s not the point anyway. They exist, because I have fun putting them in.

Here’s an example from this week: The journey included a passage where one of the protagonists uses a newly developed application, which – so I’ve heard – is a performance hog. It drains the battery of your phone.

So in the click dummy, the battery level drops by 12% during the three screens that represent this application while the clock only changes by a minute.

It’s silly. And of course nobody noticed.

But I still like to believe that details as such enliven a story (and the design that tells it). Not because spectators see those two digits (they don’t).

But the designer does. And that puts her or him in a different mindset: “the art of experiencing” (freely adapted from Konstantin Stanislavski).