If the pandemic has instilled anything in me it has been a deep appreciation for the diversity of the human condition. That might seem strange considering that, at times at least, we were “all in this together.” I’ve maintained a practice and good habit of staying connected to friends of mine and professional colleagues throughout the year and into this one on a regular basis. It’s done so much for my well-being.
On a recent call with some friends who were located around the world, we discussed how it felt like we were on different planets, not just time zones. With one in Australia, one in Costa Rica, and the others spread across Canadian time zones we each spoke of what life was like at home, in our part of the world, and for us as individuals. It laid bare massive distinctions and pointed out how easy it would be to make faulty assumptions about what each was feeling and experiencing.
It doesn’t help that the media landscape also provides us with conflicting viewpoints. (These aren’t necessarily wrong or bad, just conflicting). Some places are fully locked down, some are not, some places are going about their business as if nothing is going wrong (and have low case counts), some are bound-up (with high counts). It’s a hodge-podge.
The lesson this continues to teach me is that when we design anything for public consumption — whomever that ‘public’ might be — we need to do our research well and be clear about our assumptions up front. I’ve been continually amazed at how poorly I would have guessed how people I know would fare during this pandemic ahead of time. It’s one of the many assumptions I got wrong.
But as I plan for my next product cycle, it’s reminding me that a lot of research is needed before I move ahead.
Keep safe, everyone.