Thursday, October 06, 2005

Doubts, Of Course

And as the days advance to release date, I live in abject fear of what I am doing. The notion that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people, over time, will scrutinize my work, is starting to hit. I am not just playing around any more. This thing has cleared all political hurdles, it has increased as a project by 100%, it is real. And it is targetted to my peers. They will see this product like I would scrutinize it.

The prototyping, the ideas, the technical advice, I could do that all. Now I am in execution mode, and I am out of my depth, I think. I am trained to know what goes where in a UI, but now that I have done that I have to face that this system has a very heavy graphic design component. I am not a graphic designer. I have almost no innate talent to compensate for either that lack of training and certification, or my lack of experience that is any more than dabbling on my own websites, a yearbook or two, my pictures. I know in my heart this should be a multi-disciplinary team working together, but alas, when it comes to anything but managing the organization and getting the product organizationally out the door, I am it. Usually I would outsource the minor graphical elements to the outside graphics company, but with this budget, I will have to do. And the funny thing is, the manager approached me not for my technical skills, but because she thought I had good taste, and a commitment to usability to equal her own. She wanted me to do this part.

I will not let her down. Nor myself, since this will be my calling card for next gigs outside Nokia, as my previous two years of research have not really been cleared to delve into the details of during job interviews, and seems to be mostly a huge waste of time anyway. I am working weekends, some nights. Yes, I may think I am out of my depth, but as I have proven to myself before, in the end I make the goddamn systems goddamn work.

First user feedback came back yesterday on part of the system, from a UI designer in another division. "I would never trust this [product] to have good Open Source [stuff]; it is too clean and neat!" I was very amused. Best compliment I ever got for my designs. Yet I spent most of today geeking it up, caught as I am between the need to serve my peers who think absolute tech and shudder at stock photography, and the latest brand guidelines about how we should de-emphasize tech and focus on and show humans in natural settings incidentally using our products.

I'll find my way.