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Object-Oriented UX: a Post-Publication Retrospective

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Sophia V. Prater
Founder of Rewired UX and Chief Evangelist for OOUX

Sophia reflects on the value of pushing your content, getting it out there, and telling imposter syndrome to take a hike.

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Sue Lockwood

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Thanks to Sue Lockwood @deathbearbrown and A List Apart for the awesomely ironic Godzillas! (Ironic because they are building and not destroying.)
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Last Monday, A List Apart published my article on Object-Oriented UX. I’ve been speaking and running workshops on OOUX for about 2 years, but writing — oy vey. Writing is tough for me.

As a recovering perfectionist, I can spend 20 minutes rearranging the words in one sentence. I finally had to make some rules for myself for email and Twitter. In email, revise once, and send. For Twitter — don’t spend more than 2 or 3 minutes on a tweet! For chrissakes. It’s Twitter.

But blogging has been a total failure for me. Not a failure in that “I tried it and the world took a big crap on it” — that’s not real failure. That’s putting something out and learning from it...growing pains. Getting my thoughts out there in the longer-than-a-tweet-public-written-word has been a failure of inaction. A failure of fear. Currently, I have more than 100 notes in my “Blog Post Drafts” Evernote notebook. And there they languish, dusty and unpublished.

But I knew I had to publish an article on OOUX. This stuff is valuable and the speaking and workshops have limited reach. When I connected with Sara Wachter-Boettcher and got the invitation to put my ideas on A List Apart (squueeee!!!) then it got real. I had a bunch of google-doc-musings on OOUX — over 14,000 words. Now it needed to get turned into a polished article for one of the most (or THE most) prestigious online design journals.

I had help.

Alex Pham, my friend and Content Strategist at Axure Software (and also a writer for Forbes), was instrumental in the early editing. My mom, who teaches English as a second language (and knows nothing about the internet; I recently had to teach her about tabs in Chrome) tightened up the final draft and provided understandability-testing. And Sara, the editor in chief at ALA and the author of Content Everywhere, probably could have been listed as co-author. She made it truly readable.

That all said, my name is on it and that sticky-note methodology is my own. I hold the responsibility. When I first got the alert that the article was live on Monday morning, I had a small panic attack. What if everyone thinks it’s dumb? What if I am run out of town with pitchforks and burning torches? What if **impostor syndrome flaring** everyone finds out that I don’t know anything about anything??? AHHHH!

Or…perhaps worse, what if no one read it at all?

Sooooo…there was no reputation apocalypse. It was tweeted and retweeted a couple hundred times last week. And the page views so far are over 30,000. I had friends from high school message me about it. Most of the commentary has been overwhelmingly positive — to the point that I wonder if I am dreaming or being punked. In addition to being tagged #interesting and #wortharead, it was also called “delicious,” “monumental,” “gold,” and “everything.” Pinch me? Here’s some highlights from last week:

Twitter screenshot: Brad Frost @brad_frost says, "Fantastic thoughts from Sophia about pattern-based thinking and modern web design process"
Twitter screenshot: Responsive Design @RWD says, "It's a wonderful article, Sophia. Thanks very much for writing and sharing it."
Twitter screenshot: Karen McGrane @karenmcgrane says, "This article on object oriented UX is GREAT I highly recommend it if you like GREAT THINGS." And "I give it  three thumbs up and all the stars."

Of course there were a few critics, but they were mostly concerned with the title, not the content. The (valid) debate in the comments of the article focused not around the philosophy or the methodology, but around calling it “Object-Oriented UX.” This is something that I will address in my next post. Because the floodgates are now open and there will be next post! I’ve posted to ALA, so nothing is scary anymore.

There is a moral to the story. If you are wary about getting your ideas out there, I encourage you to fight the good fight against impostor syndrome (I am looking at you, ladies). Find good mentors and give yourself a non-negotiable deadline (or get those mentors to give you that deadline). Finally, remember that done is better than perfect.

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Originally published on Medium

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