untapped power: superheroes in the workplace!

Funny idea for a webcomic: psychics in a workplace, but the workplace is too bureaucratic to know how to use them properly, so they end up spending most of their time doing monotonous, stupid things that really don’t take advantage of their power. Every once in a while they get put on a project where they can really show off, and everyone loves it, but then the next day they get shoved back on mundane projects and told to “make it better!” but, of course, they can’t because the system is too dumb and gets in their way.

As an alum of a user experience design program I know several generations of user experience designers who have graduated from this program, and I hear a lot of stories about what it’s like for them in their jobs. In the interest of full disclosure: I’m also working on a project with Colin Gray that involves interviewing user experience designers after they have been on the job for a while about their experiences.

This was no surprise, but it seems to me that most companies that user experience designers go to work at don’t really know what to do with them. They become wireframe monkeys, or they end up doing more development work than they originally thought they would be. In either case, they don’t feel like they are operating with their full potential. A lot of these companies just don’t seem to know just how powerful a user experience designer can be for their company.

I tried to expand that idea to a ridiculous degree, as I often do, and came up with what I thought would be a funny webcomic or tv show idea that someone involved in UX would be able to sympathize with and could, if they wanted, really get behind. It would be almost the exact situation I described above, where a company has access to this great human potential but doesn’t know what to do with it, except in this case it’s about employees with psychic abilities or some other kind of super power. Watching them go through their daily, monotonous routine at their workplace that doesn’t know how to use them correctly would be kind of funny, or maybe just frustrating, or hopefully a little bit of both.

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