Not working as a proper Ui designer means I do not get re-inforced in the better principles of UI design. Number one, of course, is Go Ask The Users.
For the last week I have been racking my brain for visions of users accessing enterprise data through mobile devices, so I can submit them as candidates for mobile WebServices implementations. But what the hell do I know, I am a software weenie: all I need from my enterprise is my meetings, email, person look-up, and calendar. Hardly interesting. I needed to ask people who do not do what I do.
Go Ask The User.
So who inside this software shop here in Burlington really needs or uses enterprise data? Well, HR for one -- all our files and profiles and stock options and histories are logged on our global intranet. I went downstairs to talk to the people in HR; I saw that today I had gotten email from one of them so she was in. I am on really good terms with them all, so when I asked Lauren "Could you report to me those moments that you are away from your desk and you think 'Geez, I wish I could get to this page on our intranet because...'" not only did she come up with a good one on the spot -- people ask her about their salary and time-off accounts all the time while she walks through the building, when she can least answer them -- she also offered to pass my request along during the staff meeting Thursday. This should lead to some really usable and practical proposals for implementations. HR would already be a fabulous one because of the security and routing implications.
Then during that discussion we found out I need to "find" 16 hours of vacation that I "didn't report" during the last year, or I will be penalized for being too much of a workaholic and lose a large chunk of my vacation balance.