I could use some help explaining my job to my dad. I’m a college senior majoring in fine arts. I’ve had a design internship since last year at a pretty reputable technology consulting firm. My dad likes to compare what I’m doing to what he saw on the series Mad Men, but I’ve tried to explain to him that we’re very far from an ad agency.
Anyway, more recently I was asked to join a very important enterprise mobility project for a valuable client. The project was already delayed because of an expected team departure, so the pressure was on. I’ve been creating mockups for the user interface, which has been extremely hard.
In the past week alone, I’ve probably spent twenty or thirty hours working in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. I was stressing about it while on the phone with him and he asked me to explain it again, which was frustrating because I’ve already tried multiple times. Help me help him understand.
This seems to be a common problem for younger generations, although it’s often the millennials who get the bad rap for seeking advice from the internet at large. Working in the knowledge economy and now increasing, the human economy--according to Harvard experts--means completely reorienting our perspectives. Roles like software engineer, data scientist, and UI/UX designer are taken for granted despite having been viable careers for decades. Entire generations of people, many your elders, have what you might consider distorted senses of reality.
This project and your internship more generally is only one example of something your dad probably struggles to grasp. For your purposes, framing enterprise mobility as a metaphor might work better than even the most rudimentary explanation. One common misconception is that enterprise mobility is only about equipping an enterprise with mobile-ready devices. The truth is what makes enterprise mobility solutions so complex.
Procuring the mobile-ready hardware to equip an enterprise is the easy part. More challenging and all the more critical is aligning the necessary people, processes, and policies to support mobile-readiness. Your dad might find it simplest to remember that inanimate objects are much more predictable than the individuals liable to use them. It’s because human behavior is susceptible to unintentional error and/or external coercion that enterprise mobility solutions are even necessary in the first place.
Your role as a designer working on the user interface means that you help address the human element. The design is often overlooked in favor of engineering but rarely do problems arise from technical limitations. This isn’t to diminish the importance of exceptional development but to emphasize the often underrated nature of design.
The most successful brands consistently apply new thinking to problem-solving. Context is all the rage when it comes to enterprise mobility. In order words, businesses are using technology to address specific needs at exactly the right time. Some of these things are consumer-facing and as recognizable as the convenience of hailing an Uber or paying rent online. Others are less recognizable such as a manager’s ability to remotely delete the valuable data stored on an employees stolen device.
You’d be surprised how many scenarios your dad likely encounters on a daily basis that rely on enterprise mobility solutions.
“I remembered that the real world was wide, and that a varied field of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements, awaited those who had the courage to go forth into its expanse, to seek real knowledge of life amidst its perils.” -- Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre