Thursday, November 8, 2007

3 more Principles

So you're finally out! You've just completed your usability training from a commercial organization like HFI, or you've taken a program in Bentley College or Carleton University. Now what? Does the learning stop? Quite obviously, no. In fact, the real learning has just begun. While courses and programs give a basis and fundamentals from which to work on, the application of this knowledge is where you really start to learn. Please note, I said "Start". Even applying this knowledge is not enough. So really, when is enough really enough? From what I've learned over the past years are three timeless principles that contribute to the success of any businessperson:
  1. Read
  2. Listen
  3. Associate
Read - Read books and manuals for reference so that when you come across a situation you need more help in, refer to your materials. Also look for articles on the web that relate to UX that may give you a larger perspective on something you are encountering or may encounter in the future. It has been known that when a person reads, they retain more than 90% of the material because the brain is more active in producing visuals that interpret words to pictures.

Listen - I know for me, I have yet to do this. I have yet to plug myself into an audio book or a podcast. What I have done in fact is connect to some of HFI's webcasts on some of the topics I find interesting or relevant to what I'm currently doing. Video is just as effective a learning tool as audio as visual examples can really hit home what is being explained.

Associate - We have a local usability community that meets every month. Unfortunately, I was told by a colleague that I missed the entire year and I am guilty for not following this principle. It is in a physical forum that we learn the most from. There's nothing like telling a story and listening to them to impact others around you whether you're in a job or in your own business. This goes for success-thinking - if you want to be successful, associate with like-minded successful people. I also find it to be quite fun.

As a lesson then, continuous learning and growth is crucial to anyone looking to become successful. As an example, I heard that the GE corporation has been known to be one of the most advanced companies because of their expenditures on human resources and learning. Most people that come into the company are in fact retrained so they can "unlearn" what they've learned in traditional schooling.

Talk about assimilation to the extreme.

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