For weeks I have been immersed in a Web site redesign for one of our clients. We developed three prototype designs that users would evaluate after performing five specific tasks: Try to buy X using this site. Now buy Y using this site. Now tell us, in Freudian detail, how these sites made you click/feel. We were ruled by these tasks and our test users' success in achieving them. We watched from another room as people navigated our sites and commented on them. It was useful and brutal. Like watching people eat a meal you've prepared of your own organs. Did I mention we'd all had about 8 hours of sleep over 3.5 days?
So I have seen little of Lu this week, after a work-filled Memorial Day weekend and three days in Dallas. Jason, the saint, has been a single dad, handling all the tasks that move our lives forward...
Good morning. Elmo, yogurt, put the Os right there. Find Duck, more yogurt. Change diaper, try to sit on the potty, only flush once. Don't eat that. Make lunch, brush teeth, let Dad brush your teeth. Yes, you have to wear a shirt to school. Turn off the TV, grab your lunch box. Give me five kisses and have a great day, [INSERT CLIENTS/JOB/ADULT LIFE] Pick up. How was your day? Do you need a time out? Signing Time. NOOOO — 'nother Signing Time! Dinner. Bath? Okay, you don't smell unless you get really close. Only three books, night-night music, say prayers, night-night crib. [INSERT MORE WORK/ADULT LIFE. FEEL RELIEVED THE BABY IS IN BED, BUT THEN MISS HER BECAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TIME WITH HER. ]
Too often, I hurry through the tasks, craving the mental checkmark at the end. Breakfast: check! Clean clothes: check! And that is what I saw this week as we remotely observed people while they hurriedly clicked through our Web sites without taking note of the loving detail in each one. I wanted them to slow down. IF YOU SLOW DOWN YOU WILL LIKE IT BETTER! I was sleep-addled and oversensitive. I hated all of them, except the ones I loved and would have happily leapt through the two-way mirror to hug.
I really, really wanted to go home to my husband and my baby. My untidy house and undone laundry. I realized the tasks are not things to click through in a rush so that life can proceed. The tasks are life.
[I know how serious and sentimental these blogs have sounded lately. I will be snarky again when I have more sleep. Wit is only for the well-rested.]