Last week I was explaining to a lovely woman what I do for a living and how I try and help businesses. Afterwards it led to a discussion between her and I on why I chose to go into my career choice of Instructional Design.
When I was a teenager I remember being very frustrated with products and computers. Back in the 80s and 90s you had to read instruction booklets, there was no escaping them. You had little chance of getting anything to work without first suffering a long read of an overly complex instruction manual. The out-of-the-box experience was horrendous. The excitement of your new purchase swiftly dulled by a sense of utter helplessness, confusion and hours spent on the phone to customer service reps who were just as clueless as you were.
Perhaps because I was young, I recall not being frustrated at myself for not understanding how to use products, instead my frustration was very much directed towards the companies designing these difficult to use products. To me, I could see simple solutions, common sense changes that could have made the whole experience so much easier! I couldn’t believe that large brand names who surely must employ very intelligent people could miss such obvious problems! I just want to make people’s lives easier!
So I guess, this is where my passion for user experience and instructional design originates. My aim has always been to make life easier for everyday people. People shouldn’t have to think about how to use a product, they should just be able to use it. The product should be a means to an end and something that is a joy to use, not an obstacle that causes unnecessary frustration and wastes your time. Can you imagine how much time and frustration we’d all save if you could just pick up and use anything without having to think about how to use it? We only live once so why should we waste our time working out how to do things, let’s just do them and have fun in the process!
So, for me it’s very much an added bonus that my aim in life also has massive financial benefits for businesses. It means that I can get paid to pursue my quest to make everything in life easy, simple, intuitive and people learn at the same time as having fun. It’s partly why I love working on all types of interfaces and products. The more things I can change for people and the more impact I can have on their everyday lives, the better!