If you don’t know Jeff Parks, you should. A former cognitive rehab therapist, Jeff, is now an Information Architect and consultant based in Ottawa, Canada. He shares some interesting insights into “being human” in the following video:

Being Human is NOT Quantifiable from Jeff Parks on Vimeo.

The Following are the Key Takeaways I got from the Video:

“Behaviour is a function of the person and their environment.”

You cannot sum up behaviour as easy as a bunch of numbers. “The experiences in our life ultimately determine our perspective. It is the culmination of experiences that ultimately shape our unique reality.” Not just one event.

Business/IT tends to care more about their processes and code then the user. Much like in family feud, the user stands in the sound proof booth and they know the answer but can’t tell the people who are up on stage (business & IT). We don’t take the time to talk to our users. Take the time to find out about the people you are designing for.

Seek First to Understand Then be Understood:
Find the reconcile force… Write out all the things you disagree about then move forward on all the things you agree about. This is where personas and wireframes come into play as a tool. They are tools to communicate ideas. Move forward from there with the how. (How do I get buy in for my ideas?)

No One is an Expert:
The industry is only ten years old. How many ten year olds do you know that have the answers to everything? According to Malcolm Gladwell it takes 10K hours to master anything.

Most of our work is about conveying meaning to others for others. By focusing on data points, we miss the emotion and the perception. (ie the Human Side AND the opportunity to connect.)

If you seem stuck then the answer may not be logical. Draw, do something creative, it’ll free up your mind and help you think outside the box.

Children have endless capacity to create. but we kill creativity ruthlessly. (When we design for human beings we take the human out of the equation.)

Trust is predicated on an understanding of what it is that you are trying to communicate. Trust is the biggest issue on the web, in the marketplace, in business, in government… it’s everywhere today. The web is a conversation but do you know WHO you are talking to?

We define the people we meet by WHAT they do not WHO they are. Human experience and what we remember cannot be put into a number.

“Designers have imagination, empathy, and intuition, which is just as legitimate as statistical data and are grounded in knowledge and principles. Design is an argumentative process and as the design must be argued for so too must the data. Neither is the final answer or truth; instead there’s a process of discovery and understanding.” – Uday Gayendar, VOIP for Oracle, Adobe, & Cisco

The only way to truly understand someone is the ability to connect with them in a balanced way.

“…no one will remember you for the car you drove of the things you owned. In life, what matters most at the connections you make with other people and the personal impact you had on their lives…” – William Oliver, Farmer (My Dad said something similar to me when a close personal friend died unexpectedly: “No one will remember you at the office.”)

We have so much potential and yet we squander it on useless data points.

Other Video’s & URL’s Mentioned by Jeff are as follows:
Jake Barton
Jesse James Garrett
Lego Universe
Boxes and Arrows Podcasts
Podcast with Greg Vassallo

Special thank you to Jeff Parks for taking the time to share with us his thoughts!