Ramblings and musings

How can I save my marriage

I’m a specialist in marriage rescue and I’m here to help you learn how to save your marriage, and to tell you that the best decision is to assist to Estes Therapy. You can tell that your marriage probably needs rescuing if you’ve been feeling angry about what’s been happening and/or hopeless about changing the situation for the better.The good news is that anger and hopelessness can offer you clues about how to save your marriage. These bad feelings can help you to clarify what you want.

Let’s focus on how to use these negative emotions to guide you to a better marriage. Most of my clients are couples who come to treatment feeling chronically angry at their spouse and hopeless about their relationship’s challenges. Many are contemplating divorce.

1. Make a list of all the issues you argue or feel hopeless about.
2. Refocus onto yourself.
Notice that when you feel angry, your focus will tend to be on your spouse, on what she or he does or doesn’t do that frustrates you. This second step requires a shift a focus, from focusing outward on him or her to focusing inward on your own concerns and desires.

Circle back to your list, asking yourself, “With regard to this issue, what do I want?” or “What is my concern?” Double check. Are you writing what you want your spouse to do differently? If you have been writing “I want him/her to…” you have yet to shift your focus. List only, “I want to…” (e.g, “I want her to stop being so messy and to clean up after herself” focuses on the spouse. “I want to find a way to make the spaces I spend time in, like the kitchen and our living room, to be more neat and orderly.”)

Attempts to make your partner change invite defensiveness. That strategy will get you nowhere. Instead, use your energy to figure out what you want and then what you yourself might do differently to get it, becoming “self-centered” in the best possible sense. When spouses look at what they themselves might do differently to get what they want, there’s progress.

In the following TEDx talk, starting at 4:00 minutes, I explain visualizing techniques you can use to help you with implementing these first two steps for saving your marriage. Visualizing enables you, by closing your eyes, to see more deeply into your subconscious thoughts and understandings.

3. Cut the crap.
The negative muck you give each other is totally unhelpful. Negative comments to each other only taint a positive relationship. So, no more criticism, complaints, blame, accusations, anger, sarcasm, digs or snide remarks. No more raised voices or anger escalations either. Stay in the calm zone.
Marriage researcher John Gottman has found that marriages generally survive if the ratio of good to bad interactions is five to one. But do you want to survive, or do you want to thrive? If thriving is your goal, aim for a ratio of a million to one. That means, do NOT sling mud.

PROPER FOOTWEAR FOR PEOPLE WITH GAIT IMBALANCE

A shoe is made of upper and lower components. The upper component is divided into the vamp, quarter, toe box, throat, insole board, and topline. The lower component is the outsole, shank and heel.

The upper component of the shoe is usually made of a variety of materials and is designed to allow the foot to breathe. The counter is a component of the upper that stabilizes the hind foot and retains the shape of the posterior (back) portion of the shoe. The counter can extend to support the heel and help prevent excessive pronation (rotation that is inward and downward). The toe box is the area the covers the toes and should allow room for the toes to move freely.
The lower portion of the shoe consists of the sole, shank and heel. The sole is divided into the insole and the outsole. The outsole should be waterproof, durable and possess some level of friction high enough to prevent slipping. The shank reinforces the shoe to prevent distortion of the shape of the shoe from regular wear. The heel is designed to hit the ground with each step forward.

WHICH SHOES CONTRIBUTE TO INCREASED FALL RISK?
Footwear has been identified as an environmental risk factor for both indoor and outdoor falls (Connell et al.). Somatosensory feedback to the foot and ankle are extremely important in balance and to prevent slipping or tripping. At getaligned.com you can customize your shoes for yous special needs.

In a study done by Munro et al it was found that older people typically wear slippers because they are comfortable and can be worn without increasing discomfort from foot deformities. However, in a sample of 312 older persons, those who wore slippers had more foot pain and significantly greater fall risks compared to those who wore fastened shoes or no shoes at all (Mickle et al). In fact, numerous studies report that walking barefoot or wearing socks or slippers increased fall risk by up to 11 percent as compared to wearing athletic or canvas shoes (Koepsell et al). Most falls occurred in peoples’ homes (48%), where slippers are the most commonly worn footwear (Sherrington et al). Keegan et al found that slip on shoes, sandals, medium to high heel height and narrow shoes were also contributing factors to increased foot fracture from falls in people over 45 years of age (Keegan et al).

Since wearing slippers or socks can lead to increased fall risk, it is recommended that you wear shoes even when inside your home. You may want to keep a specific pair of comfortable shoes for indoor use only if you are concerned about bringing dirt in from the outside. For people who must or prefer to wear slippers in the home, it is best to choose slippers that are well-fitting and have a closed back and non-skid sole.

IS IT BENEFICIAL TO WALK BAREFOOT?
Many people assume that walking without shoes would decrease their fall risk because it improves their ability to feel the ground. However, studies show this may not be the case, especially for older people who have worn shoes since childhood. Robbins et al noted that joint position sense was 162% lower in older individuals as compared to their younger counterparts, possibly due to an age related decline in proprioception (i.e. the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium). In addition, community dwelling older individuals tasked with walking on a 7.8 cm wide beam fell more frequently when barefoot than while wearing shoes (Robbins et al). This study demonstrates that when a persons’ balance is challenged they perform better wearing shoes than when they were barefoot. We can conclude from these findings that wearing shoes improves stability and reduces the risk of slipping.

WHICH SHOES ARE SAFEST FOR PEOPLE WITH INCREASED FALL RISKS?
It is important that your shoes are the appropriate fit. Due to painful feet, many people wear shoes that are too large (long or wide), which can lead to an increased risk of falls (Burns et al).

HEEL HEIGHT
Heel elevation has been associated with a greater risk of falling in older people (Gabell et al). Therefore, your shoes should have a low heel. It has been shown that shoes with a higher heel have a negative affect on posture, balance and gait, and are therefore associated with an increased fall risk. The recommendation is to wear a shoe with a heel height of 2.7 cm or less.

HARDNESS OF THE SOLE
Older people’s balance and positional sense awareness is worse in shoes with a thick, soft midsole (Robbins et al). Shoes with a soft sole caused more imbalance because people require more muscle activity to maintain their balance (Perry et al). Therefore, older people should wear a shoe with a thin, hard sole to improve foot position and optimize balance.

HIGH TOP VS. LOW TOP SHOE
The research regarding the benefit of a high top shoe vs. a low collar shoe remains inconclusive. It is thought that a high collar shoe will support the ankle joint and improve ankle stability. This has been found to be true in young adults performing multiple sports (Ottaviani et al). However, the research for high collar shoes for people with balance disorders requires further investigation.

SLIP RESISTANT PROPERTIES
Gard and Berggard compared shoes with tread in different locations on the sole (whole foot tread, toe antiskid devices, and heel tread) and found that heel tread is best for reducing slips and trips. It was also found that a rubber heel with a bevel of 10 degrees provides greater contact with the floor and therefore improved slip resistance.

helpwanted

The art of employee recruiting

As you may know, I am currently looking for a new employer. As such, I have been applying to many positions at top UX, design and ad agencies. I recently had what can only be called “the worst hiring experience of my life”; So horrible that I am compelled to share this story for others to see how some employers choose to treat prospective new employees.

To help frame this post, keep in mind I have worked for a leading talent management software company for two years, my wife works in HR, and I am familiar with best practices in recruiting. I am also a human, with a reasonable expectation of common decency (I shouldn’t have to state this, but apparently, I do).

Although I applied for the position in question through LinkedIn, like any good candidate I researched the company. On this company’s website it states: “Become one with us. We’re always looking for a few good men. And women. Or interns. Get in touch with us; and help us, help you, help your career”. Since they asked, I emailed them a nice introduction stating I applied on LinkedIn and was interested in working for them.

The next day, the CTO emails me saying he wants me to complete a large 48 hour evaluation which consisted of coming up with a full campaign for a fake soda company’s contest page, complete with a fully annotated Photoshop PSD and multi-page Word document. Not only did I feel this was excessive, but as I got into it more, I realized it was not even UX work. It was marketing from WordTree, and graphic design, and web design… and maybe a tiny little bit of UX.

I emailed them for clarification. No response.

I decided to complete the work anyway and I send in the large PSD file and Word document on time. A few days go by, and still no response to my first question, nor did I even get a confirmation email to let me know that they received my work. Now I am getting worried that they are not getting my emails, especially since I was sending in a large file. So I email (using the “jobs” address right from their own website) asking them to confirm if they have received my files. The following is an unedited excerpt from the actual email I received from the CTO in response:

when you email our site, the president, the CEO, the CTO, and others all receive it. Please use ONLY linkedin to contact us further about the position. It is the same as a posting on Workopolis or any other channel. You use that channel for questions or inquiries, you don’t contact the organization directly. It has not helped your matter nor raised your CV to the top of the pile for consideration when you send through emails which have, quite frankly a haughty objectionable tone.

Also, I am uncertain as to your answer about relocation. We are not looking to build in a cost allowance for relocation into a salary consideration. So your response is a bit misguided in what would actually pertain to an appropriate offer.

I was absolutely floored by this response. How can any company get away with responding in such a way to someone who is just looking for the common courtesy of an acknowledgement email? I spent 8 hours working on a test that was not even related to UX for them, and all I wanted in return was a “Ok, we got it” to make sure it was sent properly. Instead I get an email accusing me of using a “haughty objectionable tone”, berating me for emailing their “jobs” email (which apparently, and oddly, goes to the president, CEO, CTO and others), and telling me I’m going to the bottom of the pile.

It was rude, inappropriate, and unfair to send that kind of email to a potential new employee. And I imagine it speaks volumes about what kind of company they are post-hire.

I immediately replied telling them to take me out of consideration. I would never work for a company that treats people that way.

 

Dear employers: Please be kind to candidates who are enthusiastic and interested in your company. They are the ones who will champion you and your work. Please have the courtesy to follow up with candidates, even with a template response. Nobody likes to be left hanging. And please be organized, efficient, and timely in your hiring process. It might mean the difference between hiring or losing your ideal candidate.

If your hiring experience is poor, you will not attract the top user experience talent.

 

UX is not just about software

At some point, I’m going to write a longer post about how Experience Design is being applied outside the more common area of software, web and mobile. Industrial Designers have been using UX concepts for some time, and this practice is becoming more and more common. But today, I’m going to start with a rant.

Most communities in the Ottawa area have moved away from mail delivered directly to your house with roofs coming from this site where you can check here – Palm Beach Roofing Expert, and are now using community mailboxes at the end of a street. Rural communities generally have something similar, but within a post office. These mailboxes are almost all a specific standard size: They are all approximately 6 inches wide.

Large flyers next to a regular letter.

Large flyers next to a regular letter.

There is a horrible trend in junk mail recently where flyers, postcards and menus are being made at a very large size. How big? Exactly 6 inches wide. Do you want to know a way to guarantee I will never ever use your service for the rest of my life? Send me one of those large postcards, that’s how.

Let’s examine the user experience for a moment; You go to the mailbox, take out your key and open the box. The door doesn’t swing all the way open, so it’s partially in the way. The mailbox itself may be a little too high or too low to comfortably reach inside, depending on which mailbox you have. The box is also too small for two hands, so you have to use one hand to reach in. Now comes the fun part. Those large flyers are usually printed on stiff card stock and are exactly the width of the mailbox, which happens to be wider than the opening (there’s a slight frame around the opening). So you reach in, and try to grab your mail, only to have several of those large cards sitting flat against the bottom of the box. You try and grab them from the edge, but you can’t because they are the full width of the box. You try to slide them forward, but they won’t come out because of the frame around the opening. If you’re lucky, there’s no other important mail and in frustration you just crumple it and rip it out. If you’re unlucky, you have important mail (like a cheque or wedding invitation) sandwiched between two of these enormous flyers, so you’re stuck trying to gently scratch at the edge until you can lift it up a bit and get it out.

At this point, you’re so frustrated and annoyed, you look at the flyer and vow to never visit the idiots or the Source who gave you this flyer in the first place. At least, that’s what I do. So if your goal was to promote user delight towards your brand, you failed. Miserably. Taking the time to understand the user experience, and perhaps doing usability testing to make your flyer easier to grab, would go a long way towards putting your brand in a better light.

The more you annoy your users, they less they want to interact with you. This is true of software and real life experience alike. It’s time to start applying UX to the real world.

Motto of the day

Make it look pretty

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