Posted by episode81 on July 27, 2010
Recently I visited a Large Search Engine Company to take part in a User Experience study. I am sworn to secrecy, so I can’t reveal the name. I am sure you can guess 😉
I thought it would be interesting to see new features and to see how they administer the study. And, hey! They pay $75! What’s not to love?
Anywho, I digress …
I was ushered into the UX lab where my eyeballs calibrated the eye tracking monitor. Well, that’s not entirely accurate, but let’s go with it anyway. I mentioned to the UX lady that the last UX study I had taken part in was quite a few years ago.
Me: “The last study I took part in was at DEC where I had to change the toner for a printer.”
UX Lady: What’s DEC?
Me: <Eyebrows raised> “Digital Equipment Corporation … a computer company.”
UXL: “I haven’t heard of them. Are they around here?”
Me: <Eyebrows remain elevated> “Not any more. They were acquired by Compaq.”
UXL: “I don’t know them either.”
Me: <Eyebrows out of control, smug> “I was a Kernel Engineer there.”
UXL: “A kernel?”
Me: <Crest fallen> “Um. It is the heart of the Unix operating system.”
UXL: “I’m not technical.”
Me: <That’ll teach me>
I was initially surprised that someone at Big Search Engine Company was so unsavvy – their hiring process is famous for weeding out anyone with a GPA under 4.0 and a personality. Zing!
But after noodling on it a while, I realized two things.
- It makes perfect sense to have someone running the study who has no clue what is going on under the covers.
- I am an old showoff and seem to be turning into my dad. Yikes!
During the study, I was asked by the UXL to try out a search that (unexpectedly!) resulted in me finding a picture of a walrus in a bikini. It caused a bit of a hiccup in the process as we were both laughing. Once we got that under control we could hear the guys behind the two-way mirror snorting in amusement. The clip reel at the release party should be a sight to behold.