History tells us to keep the focus on data

We’re at the US conference in London down at Trafalgar Square with the famous column with Lord Nelson statue at the top.

And so Nelson was one of the greatest heroes of naval history and he was definitely the greatest hero in the U.K. And there’s four lions around the college that celebrate the four biggest victories of Nelson’s career. And one of these four columns for lions is for the battle of Copenhagen in one, as he now I grew up in Copenhagen. So I was always taught that that battle of Copenhagen was a bit of a dubious affair because Nelson wiped out the entire Danish navy. But it was really a very intense battle. And at that time, Milton was not in charge of the entire fleet. He was only a vice admiral and a full admiral was an overall command. But Milton was in charge of the attack and so he was attacking. But it was very intense fighting and the full admirals thought it was too dangerous and decided to issue the order to withdraw. So at the time, they didn’t have radios between the ships. So they would just raise Six Flags on the flagship to signal the other commanders. But Nilton had been blind in one eye in a previous battle, and so he held his telescope up to the blind eye and looked at the flag. I don’t see any signals. I don’t see any orders from the admiral. So let’s just keep fighting. As it turned out, Nillson actually won that battle. So it’s the result. He was promoted, but if he had lost, I’m sure he would have been court martialed. But I think that in user experience, we get a little bit too much as a problem of holding the telescope to our blind eye. If we want to ignore what the data is telling us, if we have it to sign that we really believe in, we really feel that’s the simplest to sign and hope it’s going to work. Surely people will learn and understand this great thing. No, often it does not work every now and then it works to put the telescope to the blind eye, ignore the order, but usually it does not work. And in the case of user experience, we want to put the telescope to the sighted eye and really observe the users, understand what they are doing, obey the data, you know, because if you’re doing user interface design, your admiral is really the juicers and the data. So obey them.

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