On Being an Almost Famous Chameleon

In the movie Almost Famous, Jason Lee’s character, Jeff Bebe, explains his drive on connecting with fans. “I get people off, I look for the one guy not getting off, and I make him get off.” See clip

Minus the bravado of a cocksure 70s lead singer, this is what makes UX people shine. The ability to connect, using empathy, walking in someone else’s shoes to generate an enjoyable outcome. This is our jam. This is what we do. While it will always be easy to understand a subject we are experts in, for example, avid travelers recreating a reservation site, the real art is in full immersion into something new.

This where it helps to be a chameleon of sorts. To quickly adapt to a person’s needs and desires to create that optimal, delightful experience. To quickly understand the tasks needed, the optimal results, and identify pitfalls that may be blockers to that positive outcome. And like Jeff Bebe, it helps to find the toughest user or stakeholder, the skeptic, and make that connection. Make that person your champion by showing them your process, your prototypes, your attempts to understand their needs. And you will get better at this, each and every time. The more of these experiences that you can blend into, and show off your skills, the better of a chameleon you will become. The challenges you will face will always be met by your ability to change, but not change who you are. Keep your integrity.