Previously, on the Walking D… in the story I mean.
After some time, Uxar himself appeared before the king. He led Old Faithful onto the walls themselves to oversee the construction efforts. They scaled a set of stairs and came to a stop near the primary entrance to the city.
“As you already know”, Uxar began, “my role is that of User Experience Designer. To demonstrate what this means in practice, I would ask you to fulfill a simple request.” Uxar handed the king a hammer, pointed to a nearby part of the wall on the other side of the main gatehouse and said: “See that man over there? Take this hammer to him.”
The king, baffled by such a request, complied, grabbed the hammer and took a step towards the indicated person, who toiled away but a hundred meters from him. After a few more steps Old Faithful stopped in his tracks, realizing that the gatehouse was impassable and that the fastest route to his destination actually lay back the way he had come, down the stairs, across the entire yard, further down the other wall and up another set of stairs, after which he would need to walk back towards the gatehouse again.
The king was snapped out of his momentary reverie by Uxar’s booming laughter. “You seem to have grasped the problem. This issue, and all others like it, is what I’m here to find out and rid you of.” The king nodded, realizing yet another aspect of the design work he had previously overlooked. Building something great included more than simply going through the motions of creating something that did the job, more or less. Uxar went into great detail about the importance of seeing the people actually use and interact with the solutions, products and tools for any given issue, which in this case were the fortifications. Uxar had spent the majority of his time rigorously examining all of the routines and situations relating to them, going even so far as organizing a few simulated assaults against the walls from outside invaders to gauge their effectiveness.
“The men and women who are here every day are the ultimate experts on what is wrong and what is not. It is their desires and needs that we must address in the design, not simply some architect’s wild fantasy of how lavishly exquisite a citadel should be. This cannot be achieved by sitting in a faraway tower and pondering how things might be, you must come and see the reality of the situation yourself.” Uxar went on for a while about the improvements that the interviews and observations had already yielded to the design and the king realized the need for practicality among the more idealistic design methods. Eventually, the day came to an end and the sounds of physical efforts halted for the night as the king and Uxar also went their separate ways.
The end is nigh! Read Part V of the tale »