DonnaM » Blog Archive » Getting people talking

Getting people talking

I’m reading William Zinsser’s ‘On Writing Well‘ (which is amazingly good). Apart from the beautiful writing and must-remember ideas (all duly highlighted), I’m struck by how much of what he says is applicable for user research and design work.

I’m reading the chapter ‘Writing about people’, in which he says:

  • Nothing so animates writing as someone telling what he thinks or what he does–in his own words
  • Take heart. You’ll find the solution if you look for the human element. Somewhere in every drab institution are men and women who have a fierce attachment to what they are doing…Find these people to tell your story and it won’t be drab

To me, this is the beauty of doing user-centred design (true user-centredness, not just glib methodology). People are amazing and, moat importantly, the people who we may stereotype as boring or ‘not-as-smart-as-us’ are so very interesting. Almost everyone has an unusual passion that does not relate to their work – it may be their grandchildren, their collection of rare orchids, their daily work with their animals or their love of a particular style of wine. This is what makes people tick, and these are the people who we are meant to be working for.

For me, the most rewarding part of my work is getting to know very interesting people of all types – teams I work with and people I design for. Zinsser obviously has the same interest and I think is a reason his writing resonates so strongly for me.

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