On Design, Assumptions, and Really Big Jesii

Today I had a doctor's appointment. I was sent to a lab at the hospital for a blood draw. I have never been to that lab, so I called and asked for directions and landmarks.

I was told to look for the statue of Jesus.

I repeated back, "Ok, so I'm looking for Jesus?"

Pause. "Yes, you could say that."

"Ok, thanks!"

Then I go driving around the parking lots... looking for Jesus.

Except I spent my formative years in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

To me a statue of Jesus is BIG. I went to high school down the road from the Oral Roberts' Praying Hands. Which are 60 feet tall.

I did some time in grad. school in College Station, Texas. If you decide to drive down to the House of Pies in Houston, you pass by the Texas Department of Corrections and an "enormous" statue of Sam Houston. (Driving back from HoP one night I was sleeping in the passenger seat and sort of work up, and actually though the end of the world was upon us. Then I realized it wasn't a big angel, but a huge statue. Of Sam Houston. Backlit.)

In other words, I expected a statue of Jesus to be big. Several stories tall, possibly building height. If not that tall, I expected it to be on the top of a building so it would be high in the sky.

I finally went into what I thought was the right building and asked at the desk. The guy said, "Oh, the statue of Jesus is right there." And he points to a life-sized statue. In the lobby. Next to some plants.

Ok, so obviously the woman on the phone, helpful as she was, and I don't frame "big statue of Jesus" the same way. Years in Texas trained me to know that big means BIG. Big means 50 feet tall, not "big compared to the one a priest wears."

This is the sort of thing you see on the web all the time.

Where is the button? It's right there. Wait, where? That's the button? That doesn't look like I expected the button to look.

Whoa, that didn't do what I expected. But it "added to your cart". But it popped all these windows up! And I can't see where I was!
But it added to your cart, that's what you wanted.

So I recount my story of "looking for Jesus" for a reason.

Are you and your stakeholders talking the same language?

How big is big? How colorful is colorful? How subtle is too subtle? How interactive did they really want?

Have you stopped to check in and make sure that what your designers are designing, your coders are coding, and your users want are the same thing?

Or are you driving in circles looking for the really big Jesus?

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