Pirate Ships

A few years ago I read a great book called Creative Confidence. The author was an early Apple designer and the mission of the book was to help people unlock the inner creativity that was probably beaten out of them somewhere earlier in life.

I came across David Kelley’s TED talk last night. It is not very long and worth your time.

Kelly tells the story of Doug Dietz, an engineer who builds MRI machines. Dietz was very proud of the amazing technology but also deeply saddened to learn that most children were terrified to use his product, which was big and noisy and scary. Determined to look at the problem from his users point of view Dietz consulted with experts in children’s communication and the result was an MRI that looked like a pirate ship. An adventure story was created to go with the artwork. Kids loved it and were much more comforted during the experience.

Again, the main message of Creative Confidence is unlocking creativity. The greater message for me was realizing how important it is to look at your product through the eyes of the end user. Doing so is a game changer.

A standing ovation for everyone at The Weather Channel for amazing work during this amazing tropical season. Thank you.

All of us, especially those in severe weather markets, understand the daunting task of continuous coverage. You need things to talk about. As we wait for the next big and noisy and scary thing, ask if your users will receive useable information from a visually cumbersome spaghetti plot. The goal, looking through their eyes, is not to dazzle them with unnecessary technology. They’d rather have you hold their hand on a pirate ship.

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About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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