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What I'm Giving | December 5, 2013 1 comment
In this special series, we asked writers we admire to share a book they're giving to their friends and family this holiday season. Check back daily... Continue »
Robert HoekmanDescribe your latest project.
Designing the Obvious belongs in the toolbox of every person charged with the design and development of Web-based software, from the CEO to the programming team. Designing the Obvious explores the character traits of great Web applications and uses them as guiding principles of application design so the end result of every project instills customer satisfaction and loyalty. These principles include building only what's necessary, getting users up to speed quickly, preventing and handling errors, and designing for the activity. Designing the Obvious does not offer a one-size-fits-all development process in fact, it lets you use whatever process you like. Instead, it offers practical advice about how to achieve the qualities of great Web-based applications and consistently and successfully reproduce them.
Deadlines. Deadlines are a constant source of inspiration. More seriously, a deep love for the profession and the work I do is what most compels me to write. I very often find myself talking about interaction design simply because I'm so fascinated by it. Through writing, I can communicate the value and how-to of interaction design and usability work to far more people than I can gather over dinner or at a single speaking engagement.
Writing also gives me a way to think things out more thoroughly than you may in a casual conversation, though conversation usually kicks off the thinking that is written down later. Writing is a way to capture the deeper parts of conversation, and to trigger new ones.
Describe your favorite childhood teacher and how that teacher influenced you.
Sadly, I didn't catch on right away. Years later, when my wife convinced me that you should love what you do for a living, I went and found a career I love. Now I have fun while getting work done all the time. And now I understand what my teacher was trying to tell me.
Have you ever taken the Geek Test? How did you rate?
Chess or video games?
What do you do for relaxation?
What's your favorite blog right now?
Douglas Adams or Scott Adams?
What was your favorite book as a kid?
Since then, I'd have to go with Catcher in the Rye. I think most geeks can identify with Holden Caulfield, at least a little bit.
What new technology do you think may actually have the potential for making people's lives better?
If you could be reincarnated for one day to live the life of any scientist or writer, who would you choose and why?
What was your best subject in high school? Your worst?
As a programmer, I always felt two or three steps removed from the people I was building things for. As a designer, I'm right there, drawing the lines between people and information and other people. This is what I've always loved about English, and it's what I love about design.
What are some of the things you'd like your computer to do that it cannot now do?
This notion of having a computer focus on my tasks instead of its own implementation needs can be manifested in tons of ways this was just a very basic example.
I'm an expert computer user, and more than anything, I wish I didn't have to be. I consider it my job as an interaction designer to work myself out of a job.