Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

Designing for That *Other* Interface

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I, like many of you, spend most days thinking about how to put forth the most professional and attractive experience possible in my software. I used to think that as long as I could create high-quality, professional-looking software with a fantastic Ux, I’d never have to worry about the rest of it. Of course, this assumes you can find people willing to pay you to design high-quality, professional-looking software. If you look like a slob, with a little bit of last night’s dinner stuck to your OSCon 2006 shirt, people may think less of you. If you play the part of the GQ man, you might be a bit better off.

As with many things in life, the superficial counts. Whether it’s an attractive new icon for your software, or a pair of Seven jeans to cover up your bony, geeky ass, appearance matters. You’re more likely to get a girlfriend, or that new job.

I sent a mail to the Microsoft Interns (ahem, Internz) mailing list a month or two back to inform them of the just-started Nordstrom Semi-Annual Mens’ Sale. I had picked up two pairs of Jeans (Diesels and Sevens, in case you’re curious), a couple belts, and a new pair of shoes. I was thoroughly excited, and wanted to share this experience with a group fo people who I thought could benefit from dressing better. A number of male internz called shennanigans on me, complaining that I was perpetuating negative behaviors in everyone, and that $130 jeans aren’t worth the price (actually, I think they are). Several girls, meanwhile, emailed me privately to inform me that I now had a fan-club, and ‘would you please talk to our boyfriends and see if you can get them to dress better?’

Glenn at Urban Monarch talks about improving your sense of fashion in the context of getting yourself a girlfriend, but it’s an important thing to consider, regardless of your end goal. Whether you want that new job, or that new hottie in Quantum Mechanics, dressing better is a great place to start.

The subculture of geeks and nerds is filled with great guys who deserve cute, fun girlfriends — and not having simple fashion basics is a huge roadblock to that.

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