What’s in a Name?

I admit it. I have a little bit of an obsession when it comes to names. Behind the Name is bookmarked on multiple computers so I get to it at a moment’s notice. I can tell you the historical route that my name took to achieve the spelling that I have. In fact, I figured out in high school what each part of my name means.

I’ve always been a word nerd and the 4 or more years of etymology in grade school probably didn’t help. So when it came to choosing a name for this blog naturally I had to ponder it a bit. A lot of names were tossed around in my head when one day, as I was sitting there contemplating some notes from the 2010 UX Web Summit, it hit me – Something Magic.

I do not practice magic. I can’t pull quarters out of people ears or escape from locked chains or even pull a rabbit out of a hat. If you’ve come to this blog thinking that you might pick up that kind of magic trick I’m afraid you’ll be sorely disappointed. Instead the reference comes from a presentation by M. Jackson Wilkinson (@whafro) entitled Designing the Product.

Wilkinson had a lot of good things that he covered in his presentation about balancing goals, being cognizant of your objectives and reality, and knowing when and how to change. He even included the quote that graces my mac’s wallpaper (which winds definite cool points):

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

– Douglas Adams

The part of the presentation that really stuck with me, though, and the one from which this blog’s name comes was #7: Sweat the Important Details or, as I have it in my notes, Make it seem like magic. It only has to be one part.

He was speaking in terms of designing user experience with products, but as I thought about it I realized that it really can apply to so many parts of life. As adults we tend to forget to see the magic around us. We discount it as some parlor trick and in the process we can lose a bit of the wonder that we once found. I can’t promise that I won’t take things apart from time to time in my posts as I seek to better understand the inner workings of whatever has caught my interest, but I want to make ‘magic’ in the things that I do and try to find and appreciate that magic in the work of others.

I hope that you will do the same.

A special thanks to Refresh Detroit (@refreshdetroit) and Environments for Humans (@e4h) for making the viewing of the 2010 UX Web Summit possible. It was awesome.


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