Recently in Skills Category
According to Jakob, usability is like cooking dinner:
- Everybody needs the outcome;
- Anybody can perform the most basic activities;
- Anyone can learn these basics pretty quickly;
- There's a level of excellence beyond the basics;
- Skill levels form a continuum from beginner to expert.
The cooking analogy stretches even further:
- Although multi-star gourmet restaurants are wonderful, there's also a place in the world for modest neighborhood restaurants.
- Even if you can afford it, you shouldn't eat out every day.
- Variety is the spice of life.
- Sometimes it's nice to have others do the work.
- There's value to being an outsider who's not restrained by corporate politics or "the way things are usually done."
So like cooking, anybody can do usability; the basic methods are simple enough.
Caroline Jarrett writes in Caroline's Corner about the differences between The Heuristic Inspection (Gordon Ramsay) and User-Centered Design (Heston Blumenthal) on how to improve the restaurant experiences. On Ramsay "I realised that Ramsay is really doing heuristic inspections. He has a list of specific things that a good restaurant should do, starting with basic hygiene (he’s very keen on not killing the diners). He looks at the quality of service, level of organisation in the kitchen, portion control and profitability." and on Blumenthal "Blumenthal watched the videos of the user reactions and totally changed his approach (now, doesn’t that sound familiar?). He started to think about the users, and not just the diners who already chose Little Chef."
At the site of the famous restaurant The Fat Duck, cuisinier Heston Blumenthal takes the opportunity to outline some of his philosophies and chef statements regarding food, cooking and eating. The parallels with user experience (design) are remarkable.
"We believe that cooking can affect people in profound ways, and that a spirit of collaboration and sharing is essential to true progress in developing this potential. The act of eating engages all the senses as well as the mind. Preparing and serving food could therefore be the most complex and comprehensive of the performing arts. To explore the full expressive potential of food and cooking, we collaborate with scientists, from food chemists to psychologists, with artisans and artists (from all walks of the performing arts), architects, designers, industrial engineers. We also believe in the importance of collaboration and generosity among cooks: a readiness to share ideas and information, together with full acknowledgment of those who invent new techniques and dishes."
(c.f. Heston Blumenthal, Harold McGee, Thomas Keller and Ferran Adria)
Three quotes from the synthesis:
- "Cooking is a language through which all the following properties may be expressed: harmony, creativity, happiness, beauty, poetry, complexity, magic, humour, provocation and culture."
- "The information given off by a dish is enjoyed through the senses; it is also enjoyed and interpreted by reflection."
- "Knowledge and/or collaboration with experts from different fields (gastronomic culture, history, industrial design, etc.,) is essential for progress in cooking. In particular collaboration with the food industry and the scientific world has brought about fundamental advances. Sharing this knowledge among cooking professionals has contributed to this evolution."
"Almost every recipe begins with an instruction: cut up a chicken, slice an onion, mince some garlic, dice a few tomatoes, or maybe peel an avocado. Yet few cooks--even good ones--possess the basic knife skills to do these tasks effectively. Whether you're a four-star chef or an at-home beginner, Knife Skills Illustrated will show you how with step-by-step drawings and instructions. Once you acquire these skills, cutting becomes a part of the pleasure of cooking. What's more, the flavors and texture of your finished dishes will be enhanced. This comprehensive guide fills a gaping void in the literature of cooking." - How a microtopic in cooking has impact on the endresult. Like, how bad options to choose from can break a complete experience.