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User Experience at Hello Erik

No clever title for my writer’s block confession.

Posted January 11, 2015

I really like to write. All sorts of things. It’s been a fast year though, and I am finding that keeping up with my article writing expectations is falling very short. I plan about writing, I jot down ideas and summaries, but they just sit. And after sitting for a few weeks, they don’t sound nearly as good. Like waking up from an awesome dream where you know that is a perfect idea for a book for those first few seconds after waking, but then realize that it’s really stupid and it only is cool “when you’re dreaming.”

The Last Few Years

This blog has received a lot of traffic. Not compared to real bloggers, but more than I could have ever imagined since adding Google Analytics in 2010. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 2014 – 586,106
  • 2013 – 306,817.
  • 2012 -55,073 (Before December 14 “UX is not UI”: 28,053. From Dec 14 to Dec 31 alone: 25,943)
  • 2011 – 13,042
  • 2010 – 208

894,218 views since I added a tracker. Pretty stunning for a blog with 53 posts by just “some guy.”

But there’s a problem.

One Hit Wonder

In December 2012, “UX is not UI” was written. It has 150,000 views to date. You can see above, that after it’s publishing, things got a lot more active. It gets tweeted a few times a day, and I can see when someone with a lot of followers tweets it since there’s a spike in referrals and mentions. It hasn’t really died down, which is weird. You’d think that it would sort of fade away, but it gets a steady 200 views a day.

What troubles me now though, is that no other experience-design related article has come close to that, and I can’t think of anything I could write that would.


All I hear are a bunch of excuses

Here’s my list of sorry-ass bullshit excuses:

  • I don’t have a good home office setup. The Feng-Shui is all off. I don’t like sitting there, working there, playing games there. But I’ve got no real good place here that does have a good feel.
  • I am not looking for the “next job” now that I’m out of a sad geographic career cul-de-sac, and now in a place where possibilities are endless. So “getting myself out there” through blogging doesn’t feel as urgent.
  • I want to work in service design as my focus as an experience designer, and that is a lot harder to write about. There are only so many “introduction to service design” drafts I can start and throw away, and even if I did finish something, there are a million other identical posts trying to “explain” service design.
  • I’m tired. I come home from work satisfied, play with the kids, watch 1 show, and am in bed by 9.
  • I’ve got a big-time Silicon Valley job, why come home and work on a blog when I can just play video games.
  • I try to write about practical topics, so commentary or “editorial” type pieces, human interest related to our field, philosophizing, writing the “Medium style thought articles” just doesn’t feel right.
  • I only really enjoy articles that end up being 2000-2500 words. Keeping it under 1000 or even 500 feels impossible and that I’m not saying anything of value.
  • My average time investment in a post is probably 5-6 hours for “easy ones” and sometimes as many as 20 hours. Twen-ty. Outlines, 1st drafts, 2nd drafts, rewrites, 3rd drafts, edits, and then stealth edits after posting.
  • “What if a future employer reads something they don’t like.”
  • Kids.
  • The Service Experience Conference presentation took up all my spare cycles for the latter half of 2014 and all my creative juices essentially went in to this video.
  • But most of all, I don’t know how to write intentionally “another hit” that will get the visibility as much as UX is not UI has. It’s my “I would walk 500 miles,” my “I’m too sexy”, my “Walkin on Sunshine”…. my “Take on me.”

I’m not even going to try and defend them or justify them. They are a poison to my mind. General Patton said he doesn’t have his men dig foxholes, and here I am, dug in and hunkered down.

So what now what

I certainly don’t want to stop writing. I’ve got around 21 drafts in the hopper. I love writing about things. I don’t have a solution to the excuses, which is just another excuse.

I want to say that 2015 will be the year of the blog. Let’s check back in 12 months and see what really happened.

BTW – this post ended up being 913 words, 1st draft, no edits. Around 1 hour of investment.

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I love all things experience design. I work as a Principal Service Experience Designer at Intuit in Mountain View, CA.