Re-designing the #Beatme Campaign by UN Women Pakistan

Do watch the #Beatme Anti-Violence Campaign by UN Women Pakistan. What do you think?  I think the campaign deserves a complete re-design.

First off, what an unfortunate choice of words for the hashtag #beatme.  Moving past the words, why is it in English? Who are you talking to? This campaign should at minimum been in Urdu plus all the regional languages like Pashto, Sindhi, Punjabi , Balochi as well as the local dialects. For a clarity in the public service message the campaign designers should have stuck with the national language plus regional languages and dialects. A simple caption in English for non-native speakers would suffice.

This seems to be a well-intentioned campaign made in a hurry, with little thought or strategy applied to communication and social impact.  Pakistani women and men deserve more than a sugar-coating of celebrities and Calvin-Klein-esque black/white filming effects.

Emotional and Physical Abuse is a serious matter. Generational abusive patterns are corroding efforts being made for Gender Equity and Gender Equality in Pakistan. Simplistic PSAs such as this one undermine the cause as well as the intended audience for such social messaging.  I would recommend all groups working for the empowerment of the disenfranchised, women AND men, to seek out Gender Strategy consultants before approving PSAs in the future. 

Tiny Stories #ForEveryChild

I am taking part in this brilliant initiative by Unicef called Tiny Stories – Writers Unite for Children’s Rights.

Here is my submission:

For warm sunshine to greet their young eyes every morning. To bathe in clean water and get their hair ruffled by a towel as their parent dresses them for school. A mouthful of oatmeal or a fistful of egg-n-paratha to fill their tummies then they race to the bus-stop. An understanding teacher who kneels down to explain the lesson once more. A certificate of appreciation from the principal who reads every entry in a poetry contest. The echo of laughter and the thrill of the chase as playground games take up most of the lunch-break. The excitement of a new discovery as they explore the far reaches of the galaxy on a school field-trip. A quick hug from Mama/Baba/Nana/Dada and then the sweet collapse into a soft bed for a post-school nap. For homework time at the dining table with other kids, maybe siblings or maybe neighbours. Helping to set the table best that they can. Saying grace at dinner-time and getting an extra helping of their favourite dessert. Sandwiched between two hearts, listening to their most-loved bed-time story, ‘one more time!’. Closing their weary yet happy eyes, knowing tomorrow will be another wonderful day to grow, to learn, to live and love!

Daring Greatly

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;…who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

Excerpt From: Brene Brown. “Rising Strong.”

Raising Awareness for CP in Pakistan

Just completed a 7- card beginner’s Awareness deck for .  Nothing too fancy, but the facts are important. Gearing up for . Share friends! 🙂

If you are interested in volunteering, join our Facebook Group here and like the page here. Visit Step Up Pakistan’s website to find out more about why we are trying to put Pakistan on the map this October 5th.

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Beyond Customer Experience, Mapping the Customer’s Journey (notes)

Data, like milk, is best consumed fresh; the longer we take to analyze it, the more likely we are to lose the thread that connects it to its original meaning.

If you aren’t the geek who took notes in every.single.class, this post will bore you. I am reading on up on a couple of topics these days and thought to share as I go.  You’ll find excerpts from Jan Chipchase’s book “Hidden in Plain Sight: How to Create Extraordinary Products for Tomorrow’s Customers” above and below this paragraph.  Have yet to get the book, getting by on this article posted on Co.Design until I do.

If there’s such a thing as a default framework in corporate research, it’s the customer journey map, which provides detailed information about each event in a customer’s typical day, diagrams how she moves from one event to another, and identifies all the touchpoints where she may use the product or service we’re designing.

Going in deeper…

There are numerous alternatives to the customer journey map, but there is one in particular, less commonly used but phenomenally useful when applied skillfully, that can bring the diffuse spectrum of almost any human behavior into focus: the threshold map.

Threshold mapping allows us to map out “default” conditions—the normal state a person experiences a majority of the time (for example, most people feel clean enough throughout the day that they won’t drop whatever they’re doing and hop in the shower if it’s available)—and then understand what happens when a person crosses the line into an alternative condition. Often, the feelings that people experience as they approach or cross a threshold lead them to think and act differently.

This example from Chipchases’s book on Hannah Hatkin’s blog  mentions the need for a shower and a cleanliness threshold:

Many people feel clean for about a day and therefore do not have the urge to shower more than every 24 hours. In this case, a day would be the threshold. If this person, with a threshold of a day, goes three days without showering, she has crossed her cleanliness threshold and will most likely think and act differently until she gets back into her normal state by taking a shower.

Thoughts: So what does this have to do with user experience design? Good question! Understanding user thresholds provide a significant window into user decision-making. When a user researcher understands why and how someone performs an action, she can create better experiences based on those decision patterns.

On Dance (found on the web)

 

Dance isn’t something that drops from the heavens; it is a living, evolving tradition and conservation of this tradition lies in constant, responsible change, not in cementing the norms. There is a complete paranoia that we are going to lose our heritage if we expand its boundaries, but we will actually lose it only if we put it in a museum and don’t let it breathe.

‘Dance has to breathe’ – by Pooja Pillai

 

pixel-by-pixel- the psychology behind the Prisma phenomenon

Simple question coming up – Why Prisma?  Here are some captions from the official Prisma Google App Playstore Page:

Turn every photo into art!‘ ‘Every photo becomes art’  This line is the most disturbing: ‘Prisma transforms your photos into artworks using the styles of famous artists: Munk, Picasso as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. A unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence helps you turn memorable moments into timeless art.’

OH!  So all that has been standing between me and recognition of my artistic genius is a photo-editing app?  There is not a *teensy* bit of reason to expect that creativity, training in the various trades/genres and sheer talent may be the barrier from me becoming the next Rembrandt.  All that is required is an Application. If you have yet to recognize my stance on the latest whirlwind tech phenomenon, I don’t Prisma.

However, it is worth digging deeper into what makes Prisma so attractive to tons of people across the globe. 

What could possibly be attractive about a machine imaging process that converts a real instance into a thermal image or a blurred out robot-like attempt at monochromatic watercolor painting?

Is it because we are innately and infinitely curious about how computers  (inanimate machines of our making) view us?  Are we so alone that any shred of apparent creativity or artistic output is enough to render further endearment to the technological beasts-of-burden? 

Is this the very end of the line (I doubt it) of our narcissistical tendencies – the need to view ourselves from multiple vantages and viewpoints? When will this need quench?

Prisma photos look like (I can only imagine) when a cyborg needs to be thwapped from the side of it’s ‘head’ to adjust it’s vision. Colors bleed unnaturally.

One social media commentator was quick to call a freshly Prisma’d friend ‘gorgeous’. Gorgeous now means a modified, spray-brushed Microsoft Paint version of your likeness. 

Eventually, the novelty for Prisma will, too, die off.  Terminal overthinkers and worrywarts like myself will find a fresher topic to observe.  What will remain is the discovery that modern day humans seek easy,swift detachment from their immediate surroundings. Preferably at the click of a button.

It can be that we are escaping further into wilful delusion, aided by games and pointless tasks like flinging round birds at klepto-pigs  or collecting imaginary monsters.  At least the Pokemon do not instigate full-scale coups on a Sunday morning.  Apps like Prisma and Snapchat alter your facial features but you still have a passport that is recognized and country to call home.

 

Boldness has genius…

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back — concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:

that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

Goethe

the world on the web this week

Sound that You Can Wear

“…“You’re going to change the word listen to feel,” says Timbaland. “It’s about whole body, completing the experience.” …

SubPac is creating its own physical-sound category through two unique products: the SubPac M2, a wearable vest, and the SubPac S2, a seatback device. Similar to sub woofers in the back of seats, when you wear this wearable, which is similar to a backpack, you literally feel the low-end frequencies throughout your entire body — and you can take it wherever you go. The startup has attracted major investors and industry leaders who have joined forces to engineer this sound movement.”

Our 30s are the decade when friends disappear.

Distracted Users are the New Normal , Design for Them 

‘Debating the relative merits of a more distracted versus a more focused society is about as worthwhile as kicking rocks.  … What does that mean in practice? Expecting that any opportunity your UX presents for distraction will result in divided attention, for one. Here’s a list of what that means:

  • If your product allows a user to feel at all that they can do something else simultaneously, expect them to do that.
  • Assume that partial participation by a user is roughly equivalent to no participation at all.
  • If a task requires significant user attention, make it challenging – this might mean actually downplaying so-called “smart” features.”

The Brilliant Mechanics of Pokemon Go

 

‘Amid the entire play session, the game has to stay open. That keeps you from getting distracted and flipping out to other apps. I find myself walking with my phone in my pocket, but with the game open often enough while wearing headphones. Whenever there’s a chime, I take the phone out of my pocket and start playing — whether that’s collecting Pokéballs or trying to capture something new (or some crappy junk Pokémon for the sake of experience). The game world is vibrant and beautiful, making it something easy and fun to see. It’s filled with flair and flashes that are visually stimulating and signal new elements of the game. All this makes the player want to keep their eyes — or ears — glued to their phone, ready to engage with it the moment something new happens.’

‘I needed VR to get away from the augmented reality of Pokémon Go.’ 

 

 

Taking a page from Edhi’s Book

A few years back I set upon reading Abdul Sattar Edhi’s autobiography, A Mirror to the Blind*, with my highlighter and black pen in hand.  As a Pakistani who has witnessed the extent of Edhi’s humanitarian efforts in action, from fast-responding ambulances to the ever-present cradles at the donation centres, I thought there was little about him that hadn’t become folklore.

13590326_1010126859037163_8249178195416169058_nI was mistaken.

To learn about Edhi, in his own words, is to learn about Pakistan and Karachi with new eyes. His sleeping on the bench outside the very first Edhi Centre, a simple room in Mithadar to his tireless devotion to his mother ; at times such immense acts of humility were casually remarked upon by Edhi that it made me feel ashamed.  Ashamed that the rigmarole of everyday life has taken me so far away from the basic tenets of my religion, that which is based upon community service and peace, that I only take part fully every year in Ramadan. It is during Ramadan that I sense at least some degree of satisfaction, ‘yes, I have given my all to my community’, yet even that is illusory and I know it.  True service is constant, sustainable and hidden.

One of my favorite quotes shares Edhi’s mother’s advice about giving charity explains the hidden concept best:

 “In the holy month of Ramadan she collected other Memon ladies and made bundles of foodstuff, which she sent me to drop through the windows of poor people or needy relatives. All the while her soft whispery voice echoed behind me, “It is charity only when your left- hand does not know what the right has given. When the respect of the receiver is foremost.” 

When news came of Edhi Sahib’s passing, it was a shock. Not only because it seemed that his guidance will always be there but also because in some ways his service had made him larger than life. In life, Edhi had become a legend.  In death, Edhi has become a template for  human development and selfless social work. 

It feels as if we have been given an opportunity, as Pakistanis, to give back to our communities without the shackles of prejudice and intolerance.  The next time a living being is in need, ask yourself, What would Edhi do? and set forth without a moment’s hesitation. I will do the same.

*(This book is meant to read and re-read.  I can not do justice to it with a hurried review. If you haven’t put it on your ‘to-be-read’ pile, do so now.)