In which I fail to apply UX principles

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

Last week I published the Coffee Notepad manifesto. While I stand behind every word of that post, I think it was a step in an ill-conceived strategy for me and for this site.

I mentioned at the end of the post that it was inspired by a challenge from Jeff Goins. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, Goins is a writer who also teaches courses on building an audience through blogging.

One of Goins’s core principles is that it’s important to “find your tribe.” It helps for many of his students that they share key similarities with Goins himself, the details of which aren’t important here. The point is that such people have an easier time building their tribe because they can rely on support and feedback from each other.

So what does all this have to do with UX and my failure to apply its principles?

I made the mistake of behaving as if my fellow challengers were my audience, and the vast majority of them probably aren’t. Most of them aren’t very technically oriented, and I’m not sure anyone else in that group shares my interest in UX. That’s part of the reason I haven’t posted the WordPress guide I mentioned last week. Such a guide would be useful for that audience (indeed, I provided some technical help to a few fellow challengers).

But that’s not the purpose of this site.

After I realized the challenge seemed not to be going so well for me, I realized that I failed to define my audience appropriately. I needed to clarify what the purpose of this site is. So what are my goals for this site? Two main things:

  • Document my journey learning about UX and related topics
  • Establish sufficient credibility to get hired for UX work

This makes my intended audience a mix of other people in my situation and people who are currently working in UX who can provide useful feedback. I can still apply the principles from Goins’s challenge; I just have to go about it a little differently.

So I’m going to wait to publish my first subscriber bonus until I have a better idea of what people who read this site would like to see. Maybe other people in my situation would like to see a curated list of helpful UX resources. Maybe UX practitioners would like to see a worm’s-eye view of what it’s like navigating through the landscape of UX material.

Fortunately, I don’t have to rely on traffic to this site to get answers. I know where I can talk to some people about this, so I will do that.

I want to make it clear that I am not criticizing Goins or any of his students at all. In fact, I’m grateful. If I hadn’t fallen on my face in the challenge, I’d probably still be puttering along without a clear idea of what I want to do with this site. Now I know what I intend to do and can plan accordingly. That’s a success in my book.

When have you received unexpected clarity after a failure? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

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