You’re on mute
A related experience that I had with regard to the oh-so-important “mute” button: so, there was this big presentation for a big local banking client wherein I would present this white-labeled web app mock-ups to the stakeholders. And I was on mute.
However, no matter how I set the visual state of the WebEx button, I was still on mute. Tinkering on the audio settings did not save me from the awkward silence of everyone in the call.
It ended up that I asked a colleague to save the day and present the designs while I became the slide switcher.
Right after the call, I noticed that a button on my keyboard was lit. Yep, it was the mute button and it was active. WebEx failed to deactivate it. What a learning experience in the expense of users!
The truth is
Sure, truth is subjective. We, humans, when we go out of our heads and into the world, we must share a common truth — the same things that we believe to be true — that will hold its ground for an indefinite time.
In user interface design, there’s this thing that we call “single source of truth”. It is a design artifact that everyone refers to when needed. For example, what is the single source of truth for our brand color red?
Surely, if that red’s color value exists in one designer’s safekeeping, they might have missed (whether they missed the news entirely or missed updating their own instance) that the branding department have already updated the shade of the red which they also have in their safekeeping.
Then we can surmise that the benefit of having a single source of truth for the color red boils down to efficiency. Efficiency of maintaining only one instance (works well in the digital world) and efficiency of communications because everyone trusts that the instance is aligned with everyone.
Oh, yeah, the reading list
- State-Switch Controls: The Infamous Case of the “Mute” Button
- In search of the truth, and a song…
- On compromise in product design
- The Psychology of Misinformation During the 2020 U.S. Elections
- The hermeneutic circle: a key to critical reading
- Daniel Ek on The Observer Effect
This comes back to how you view your role as a leader. My job is to try to be value-add. If you think about a pyramid, there’s a fellow Swede who ran SAS, Scandinavian Airlines, who said the right way to think about leadership is you’re not at the top of the pyramid. You should invert the pyramid and envision yourself as the guy at the bottom. You are there to enable all the work being done. That’s my mental image of what I’m here to do at Spotify.Daniel Ek