For many years, as the groundswell towards Mac has gathered pace, I’ve had to endure many of my colleagues scoffing at the fact that I continue to use Visio when they’ve seen the light and made the move to Omnigraffle.
I got my first Mac in more than a decade last week, so I’ve left behind all my Visio skills for the time being and am trying to ‘level up’ in Omnigraffle as quickly as possible!
But I don’t get what’s so special about it. Can someone remind me?
Making the switch to Mac has been a fascinating experience. I’ve had so little experience with OSX and Mac applications, that I really feel like a beginner. And, no. It’s not as easy and idiot proof as those of you who’ve been using Macs for a while seem to think. Sometimes, really basic tasks like trying to save a document into a particular folder, seem completely impossible to me (there is a lot of functionality hidden behind little black triangles, I’ve come to discover).
I miss knowing all the shortcuts desperately. And knowing how to diagnose problems. I have to learn entirely new patterns and ways of interacting.
I’m a beginner. And it’s really frustrating, and disempowering. It makes me feel pretty dumb.
It also makes me think that I wish that I could have this experience about once a year to REALLY bring home what the experience of using the interfaces that I design must be for very many people. It lifts the ‘Curse of Knowledge, or the The Curse of Expert Ennui as Anne Zelenka might describe it.
We know so much about making our computers work and so much about how they are designed… it’s impossible for us to forget enough to really empathise with novice users.
Which, of course, is why it’s so important to regularly, carefully and empathetically observe users of all levels of expertise and familiarity using your product. You might *think* you know what they understand, but you’re probably wrong. Design expertise is incredibly important, but it only goes so far. Regular observation of real people interacting with technology is a really important input to good design, and becoming a good designer.
Meanwhile. I’m taking any tips on how to become an expert in all things Mac. Let me have ’em.