July 22nd - 23rd / New York CityJohn Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Miserable Path

Chris Strahl

Chris Strahl

Evan Lovely

Evan Lovely

When: July 23 @2:45pm
Where: Room 1

Visualize how you'd create your perfect web experience. You could design it with an eye toward all the newest trends, maybe throw in some sweet animations, and of course you'd build it in React or maybe something even cooler like Web Components. Sounds awesome, right?Design would create beautiful comps and prototypes with some amazing "moments". Things are looking good with about 200MB of interactive experiences planned for the homepage. A designer working remotely from a brewery in Portland would get a crazy idea and work it into the comps. Eureka! Design gold. We need downloadable beer samples! Everyone is going to love this. However, when engineering takes a look they shoot down all of the best ideas as "too time consuming", or "not feasible with current technology." It becomes another project where you're only excited to add the comps to your portfolio... not the watered-down product it's going to become.Development would build something that is streamlined, smooth, and oh-so-elegant. Of course you'd want to start by taking a few months to build an awesome CI that integrated dozens of tests, measuring everything from cyclomatic complexity to performance budgets, and heat-mapping code commits on a weekly timeline so you knew exactly how many cans of La Croix you need to make it to MVP. After weeks you start to lay down some great code that looks like poetry, only to run smack into the brick wall that is IE 11 support. No matter, just a few more weeks fixing all those bugs won't hurt, right?Of course, eventually you'd want to think of the users. Maybe you're lucky and the ones you're building for use the latest tech, have stable high-speed internet, and live in a country that speaks the native language the site was built in. Even then, did you consider how making it responsive would affect your users? Does everyone who visits the site have smartphones and live in cities with at least 4G coverage? Do you need to think about the use of assistive devices? What about the army of robots and digital assistants that are expecting your site to provide them easy access to information too?When we think about how we'd create an awesome digital product, we often visualize only the "happy path" — a perfect combination of tools, intentions, events, and goals. Everyone's ideal experience is relative, and few think about the "miserable path" of the process of design, development, or of users not like them. Further, it is impossible to anticipate all of the scenarios where something might go wrong. So, how do we manage the unexpected? Is it a waste of time to try and prepare for something that may not even go wrong?In reality, you have to keep both the happy path and the miserable path in mind. We'll take a look at some examples of both pathways in action. We'll provide some strategies for realizing your happy path (and the happy path of others) while being mindful of the miserable path. Most importantly, we'll give you some strategies for how to help your customers, team members, and stakeholders understand the difference.

← Back to Sessions