Monday, August 31, 2009

The Researcher's Nightmare

When I was in theater, there was the concept and indeed a play, called the Actor's Nightmare. In short, it is a concept that an actor in a role gets ill or injured and you, the understudy, are completely unprepared, yet you are asked to go on stage in his/her place. For years, I have had that dream on and off in stressful times and at other random times. I would be working backstage for a show, and suddenly, it was my job to fill in for a missing actor. I didn't know my lines, I didn't fit in the costume and was generally unprepared.

Last night, I had my first reasearcher's nightmare! Getting ready for a big study over the next few weeks, lots of pieces to keep track of and homes to visit. Three types of scripts, a new assistant researcher and working with a new firm. All of those pieces added up to stress which resulted in the ultimate researchers nightmare! I got lost on the way to the home visit, wasn't prepared. I woke up very stressed and glad it was all just a dream!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

On Hiring Theater People

I was recently alerted to this great interview where Peter Menholz of Adaptive Path interviewed Jared Spool - user experience guru.

This excerpt thrilled me since I am a born and bred theater person turned business gal. Curtain up!

Hiring Theater People

PM: You mentioned that when you see a resume with a theater background, you find that encouraging. What is the perspective of theater people that you find illuminating in doing this kind of work?

JS: Theater people have an interesting viewpoint of the world and it changes our viewpoint towards them.

Theater, particularly live theater, as opposed to film for example, is a process where you iterate, you see what works, you try it in rehearsal, and then you make changes, and then you try it again. So theater people inherently understand vast iterations, and moving toward an objective. Theater is also very much about an experience, so quality theater people understand the experience design in that regard, and they understand elements of the user design, such as the illusion, and subtlety, and the back-channel communication sort of stuff. Theater people all know how to work on a deadline because the curtain goes up at eight, and so you either have everything in place when the curtain goes up or you just make stuff up, but the curtain is going to go up. Theater people also understand the difference between on stage and backstage, which in a consulting practice or a research business is actually very important.

See the full article at: http://www.adaptivepath.com/ideas/essays/archives/000516.php