- Announcing: War Stories
- Steve’s War Story: It’s All Going To Burn
- Tamara’s War Story: What the Hell? Don’t you knock?
- Tell Us Your War Story
- Vanessa’s War Story: DDoSed in Vegas
- Dan’s War Story: Focus, no matter what!
- Priya’s War Story: Taking empathy to a whole new level
- Tom’s War Story: Go with the flow
- Mary Ann’s War Story: Be Prepared
- Leo’s War Story: No, We Really Meant the User
- Nicolas’ War Story: Do you want me to act?
- Diane’s War Story: Interrupted Interview
- Kelly’s War Story: Pictures are language independent
- Susan’s War Story: The trust dance
- Gavin’s War Story: It’s 4:00 a.m., Do You Know Where Your Ethnographer Is?
- Dan’s War Story: Shanghai Surprise
- Fumiko’s War Story: Goodbye cruel world
- Greg’s War Story: Taking notes, getting detained (sort of)
- Jon’s War Story: Beware of Trap Doors
- George’s War Story: Skyfall (or A View to A Kill)
- Lisa’s War Story: When Rapport Goes Too Far
- Sean’s War Story: Pockets full of cash
- Francoise’s War Story: Black glances cast our way
- Brandon’s War Story – CATastrophe
- Greg’s War Story: Biting off more than I can chew
- Michael’s War Story: The glass is more than half full
- Raffaella’s War Story: Learning to deal with expectations
- Greg’s War Story: Culture shock
- Elaine’s War Story: I thought my client was going to die
- Dennis’s War Story: Negotiating between sympathy and empathy
- Debbie’s War Story: Sometimes Ignorance is Bliss
- Carla’s War Story: A dirty diaper sitting in the mud
- Apala’s War Story: Whose side is the researcher on?
- Jaimes and Aico’s War Story: Sumimasen!
- Elysa’s War Story: Keep The Swiffer On Your Right
- Sharon’s War Story: Broken Windows Theory
- David’s War Story: Footloose
- David’s War Story: Suit yourselves
- Prasad’s War Story: Skin in the game
- Daria’s War Story: Human Thresholds
- Jen’s War Story: Trust your gut, it can save your life!
- Ryan’s War Story: Enthusiasticus Interruptus
- Valerie’s War Story: Rank order
- Rachel’s War Story: Subject Matter May Be Inappropriate
- Cordy’s War Story: A Crisis of Credibility
- Marta’s War Story: On confronting judgement
- Whitney’s War Story: Stories of War
- Kavita’s War Story: Managing money, oh joy!
- Ilona’s War Story: First Stop the Bleeding!
- Elaine’s War Story: They call me Mister
- Tom’s War Story: House Rules
- Alicia’s War Story: Don’t hate on a tinkler
Jon Innes, founder of UX Innovation has a story about getting – and maintaining – access to a secure location. Very secure.
Early in my career I helped a number of companies outside of the consumer space adopt methods for consumer design research to products sold to businesses. This is always a challenge because you have to explain to various people at the companies you visit what you want to do and they typically think you are crazy.
In this case, my project involved trekking to companies around the US to talk to telecom and networking geeks. My assignment was to study adoption barriers to Cisco’s Voice Over IP products, which meant physical phones, special servers to make them work like old fashioned phones, and some software to set them up to do stuff like retrieving voice-mail, and dialing extensions or outside lines.
On this particular day, I was onsite at an Ivy League university. I had just spent several hours talking to telecom guys who clearly didn’t like the idea of having to use some fancy networking gear or for that matter anything that was designed after Jim Morrison had died. I had just parked my stuff in the corner of a network operations center (NOC) that resembled NASA’s Mission Control Center in preparation for a series of interviews with the staff there. Getting in the NOC was a major coup. Most companies do not like outsiders in the NOC, especially outsiders with cameras taking notes.
About 5 minutes before my first interview with a NOC employee, I decided to make a run for the restroom. My time-zone-adjusting caffeine intake was taking its toll, and the person I was supposed to speak to had yet to arrive. I asked someone in the NOC for directions to the nearest restroom and walked down the hall, not thinking about much but the call of nature. I passed through several doors and got flashbacks of an old TV show called “Get Smart” I watched in reruns as a kid.
I located my destination, but as I attempted to return to the NOC, I quickly realized I had a problem. In my haste, I’ve left the secured zone of the NOC. The doors I passed through require a special badge to get back through. Worse yet, I’ve left my bag with my ID and my notes of who I’m supposed to visit, and I can’t remember the name of who I’m supposed to be meeting with next.
While most companies make you sign in, I had not needed to that day. I had an escort from the IT group show me around, leaving me at each place for the time we agreed so I could do the interviews. So I’m now in an unknown part of the building, with no idea how to get back to where I was, or even how to get out of the building I’m in. I don’t have my cell phone with me, and there’s no one in the hallway to ask for help. Even if I do find someone, like a security guard or an employee, I realize it’s going to be really hard to explain this. After what seemed like an eternity, I talk a passerby into helping me contact my escort from IT, who kindly helps me return to the NOC. I manage to gather some good insights there during the time I have left.
To this day every time I’m doing a study in a corporate setting, I always hear the theme from Get Smart playing in my head as I walk down those hallways…and my trusty laptop case is always on my shoulder.