Anssi Rönnqvist // December 20 2017

Learnings from a Padded Cell

A few years back there was a time in my life when early each morning I went to a padded cell and closed the door behind me. Listening to the silence I first calmed my mind. Then I started talking alone for hours. Sometimes I was reciting the words of God and sometimes listing statistical spreadsheets out loud. As you might have guessed already, I was narrating audiobooks.

The books I read were from a whole spectrum of topics. Fact and fiction. Novels, children’s books, poetry, biographies, school books and even some photographic books (describing the pictures!). Many times I was reading books from genres I would unlikely have picked from the shelf myself. Fun, educational and eye-opening. Looking at the world through the eyes of various authors with their world views. Book after book.

Ok, I have to admit, sometimes the plot was just so poor and the text so utterly rubbish that it was nearly painful to read through. But I guess those count as learning experiences too.

From time to time I had a book in front of me where the plot was nothing special, just a description of an ordinary life without any big drama or twists. However the narrative was so colourful and lively that you just enjoyed the ride despite the lack of striking hooks. A story so beautifully crafted that you just couldn’t put the book down until you finished.

That’s how a good digital service should be at best. First there’s an idea and a design based on the insight and an understanding of users. Then it’s put together with the balanced mix of needed technology. The end product delivers a delightful experience to users no matter how basic the everyday task it was planned to execute. This drives more and more people to use the service. The original idea has come to life.

While working in an open-plan office now I sometimes miss the peace of a padded cell. Luckily one can always book a meeting room just for oneself. After some silence you appreciate and enjoy the collaborative atmosphere again and talks with great people around you who you exchange your world with.