Perspective

Let’s talk about good user experience.

In Jaya One, there’s this escalator that irks me every time I use it. It’s very unnatural because it’s right-sided. It’s not just me, I notice that other people tend to walk towards the left side as well.

There’s another occasion when I entered a lift with my parents, my mom was the closest to the buttons so I asked her to press on B2 for me. She struggled for quite awhile, until I stepped closer to press on the button myself.

It’s because there are no colours on the numbers on the lift buttons, there’s no contrast against the silvery button, so my mom couldn’t tell the buttons apart!

Design is all about perspective. It’s about adjusting our perspective to consider the users who are going to use the products and the spaces. It requires empathy as well, putting ourselves in the shoes of the users, imagining the best experience for them.

It’s a bit like life, isn’t it? Have we considered all perspectives before making a decision, before taking an action? Are we empathetic towards the people we interact with?

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Refocus

I’m not really a people person. I’m pretty awkward when it comes to making small talk, or getting to know a stranger.

Because of that, I’ve always favoured working on the technical tasks I have at hand as opposed to people management. I prefer building web app features over training interns, executing facebook ads over having spontaneous discussions with colleagues, crafting business analytics dashboards over review meetings.

It’s the technical tasks that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something at the end of every day.

Frankly, I’m being a hypocrite. I’ve been hiding in my own comfort zone.

When my partner tells me how unproductive he felt on days that he spent on countless meetings, I’ve always reassured him that the meetings are the main part of his current role. It’s the direction setting, the employee empowerment, and the decision making that are important to his current role. The menial tasks should be delegated to empower his colleagues and gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment within their own roles.

It’s time to practise what I preach.

Inspiration:

Sherlyn, cofounder of Twenty3, shared something that triggered me the other day. She shared how she would cry in the backlane of their office, and how she would always put on a happy face and attitude once she goes to work, because she needs to bring positivity to the team, and keep them going.

How’s everything?

We sat together in the meeting room, just after a meeting ended. Both of us typing on our own laptops, doing whatever it is we had to handle.

I asked you how are things?

And that sparked the entire conversation. We discussed someone’s room for improvements, marketing ideas from your friend who manages a popular facebook page, paperwork that you’re currently bogged down with.

I’m surprised to learn that you’d rather work on the internal things. But you can’t because you felt like you had to be out there getting connections otherwise we won’t be getting the exposure we need.

I’m surprised to learn that you actually thought the same about one of our colleague’s performance, that he is easily swayed by the opinion of others and failure and not firm in his stance.

I get a glimpse of your maturity now and then. Whenever we actually sit down and discuss matters without any other distractions. And it’s these moments that I cherish in our working relationship, it gives me an idea of what you are concerned about and what you are working on. That plays a huge part in influencing me as well.

If I had just left the room after the meeting, we would not have a decent discussion. So note to self, grab every chance I have to ask you, how has it been going?

Company interest > employee growth ?

How do I balance between giving someone the space to make mistakes, and providing the best customer service?

Today one of our interns was given a chance to make cold calls to our customers, but she was quite unprepared and the customer ended up having her guard up against the conversation.

Perhaps I reacted too fast, and motioned for her to pass the phone to another colleague. Afterwards, maybe I was a bit too pushy when I insisted that she practise having the conversation with me. I should have given her some time to recollect herself and reflect on what she could improve on, instead on just drilling my feedback to her immediately.

After awhile, I could tell that it took a hit on her confidence. That’s when I backed off slightly (but only slightly though), and gave her the choice to either start another call if she’s comfortable with it, or listen to how the other colleague handles it.

What would I have done differently?

1. Still motion to her to pass the phone to the other colleague when the comversation starts to turn towards the wrong direction, but I’ll start with giving her reassurances and confirmation first. Training cannot come with the expense of customer satisfaction, but I should have given some thought on her emotions as well.

2. Give her space to reflect and think, before giving her my feedback. Or perhaps ask her how she think she could have improved, before telling her my opinions.

Balancing employee’s personal growth and company’s interest is tough. In the future, I should take a deep breath and consider if company’s interest > employee growth or vice versa.

200 words. 100 days.

Let’s do this. I’ve decided to revive my old blog and start writing again. 50% inspired by a friend, 50% desire to do it because of my negative state of mind.

I used to love writing. I love the way I could pour my heart and soul out onto my blog, and the way I get carried away into a story sometimes.

Writing 200 words a day wouldn’t be that difficult. I could do reviews of my day, be completely honest with myself and have it written out on a blog post could help me straighten out my thoughts. I could reflect on how I’ve performed during work, to truly lay out the goods and bads with myself.

I could document my growth throughout the months. Lay out what I’ve learnt and what I’ve done right or wrong in terms of managing a company, marketing, coding the website and web app, and mainly reflecting on my working relationships with my colleagues.

Some days I could even squeeze some creative juice out of my brain and write stories. Inspired by my feelings. Perhaps it could reflect my state of mind.

Yes. 200 words every day for 100 days shouldn’t be that hard, especially since I don’t have an audience.

Will this be #betterthantherapy too?

I’m back! Right now I’m trying everything I can to help keep my mental health afloat.

Since starting a company early last year, there are so many instances where I’ve felt lost, demotivated, frustrated, and even wanted to give up.

I’ve tried a few things:

  1. Bought my own tarot card. The occasional readings that I’ve done for myself helped me structure my thoughts. It gives me encouragement when I needed it, improvement points when I am too narrow-minded, and even reflection points on how I’ve been doing in the past.
  2. Konmari my life. I started with my wardrobe, then my laptop, then my phone. Now what I have left to konmari is books, miscellaneous and sentimental things in my room. The feeling of getting rid of junk is quite liberating, and it does help clear my mind alot.
  3. Started going to fitness classes regularly, though this motivation mainly comes from the fact that my wedding is in 2 months time! But the fitness classes gives me a huge sense of satisfaction at the end, and it does clear my mind too. The ache that comes after makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
  4. I’m talking about the difficulties that I’ve been facing, with a small set of trusted friends. It’s monthly sessions of mastermind sessions, where we’ll get together and set goals and talk about tough things and get different perceptions from each other.

My emotions have been quite haywired recently though, and my stress management is quite haphazard. I often feel like a walking timebomb, ready to explore at any given time.

But hey, such is life. Isn’t it?

2016: the beginning of great things.

Since 2016 has arrived, I’m reflecting on the things that I have done in 2015, simply to keep myself motivated, to push myself to achieve greater things in 2016.

Here’s an excerpt from a post I wrote 7 months ago.

Before my 26th birthday, I want to have achieved these:

1. Acquire developer skills.

2. Commit my time to something that inspires and motivates me, something that pushes my learning curve as steep as possible.

3. Build or create something. Be it creative-related, tech-related or healthcare-related.

So here’s an update:

1. Status: Achieved.

The journey started with NextAcademy‘s Full Stack Bootcamp. I spent 9-weeks in the intensive bootcamp, shed blood sweat and tears (figuratively) over the steep learning curves every single week.

The best thing about the bootcamp is the people. People are motivated and driven because they want to achieve their goals, because they have made the decision to invest their time in learning this skill, be it as a stepping-stone to build their ideas or to have better understanding of the technical side of things within their existing/future businesses. It’s not all talk and no action. <3

Now, I can confidently introduce myself as a programmer/web-developer. Even though the languages that I am proficient in is still limited, but hey, it is the start of the journey.

2. Status: Ongoing.

Ever since October, I’ve dedicated my time to upskill my programming skills because I’ve discovered that it is something I enjoy doing. Building web applications is challenging in every aspect, I just love the satisfaction that comes after I solve a problem or complete a project.

So I’ve been mentoring at the bootcamp, doing some freelance projects at the same time. Gaining experiences while building real-world projects :D

3. Status: Initiated.

I have to say that starting something is simply not that easy. It takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. I have also learnt that if the end-goal is not clear enough, the motivation to persevere will never be sufficient to push myself. If I do not feel passionate or believe in the end-goal, I would not have enough drive to execute it.

It will be a constant work in progress in 2016 because it will be my main focus of 2016.

Overall, I would say that 2015 was the year of initiation. I took the first step out of my comfort zone, and that was the easy part. The harder part is to execute fast and firm enough so that the propulsion can bring me to greater heights.

So here is to 2016, the year of execution.