— sarah makes a blog

Tag "ux3"

Very proud that my User Experience of a Heartbreak project is continuing to find its way to people! The past month has been a blast. My most recent interaction with an admirer of the project was so touching:

And I was a little head-over-heels to see that Timothy Goodman liked the project. If you have seen his Forty Days of Dating project with collaborator & design giant Jessica Walsh, you’ll get absorbed in no time.

ux3.us was most recently featured in Beautiful Decay, Huffington Post, and The Metro (digital and print!). Thanks again to Katherine Brooks of HuffPo and Lakshmi Gandhi of The Metro for publishing the work.

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I also did [what I consider] a pretty tell-all interview with Ellen Huerta for her site Let’s Mend. I was a little reluctant at first, but Ellen is a total pro and made it such a great experience.  Special thanks to her as well for featuring the work and taking interest in the more human part of my story.

I’m excited to be working on a v2 of the site, which will include a lot more content, mobile support and additional menu features. More to come! Stay tuned.

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I’ve been completely floored by the overwhelmingly positive response User Experience of a Heartbreak has received. I had hoped it would resonate with people, and it seemed to do so when I showed friends and colleagues the early versions. But I didn’t expect to see so many people embrace the project after it was published. I did snoop twitter quite a bit (not incognito, either!) to see what people thought. Here are some of my favorite responses:

The process of creating ux3.us has been difficult, but so incredibly rewarding. When I first began making it, I didn’t realize I would end up feeling so wonderful about something that initially made me feel awful. I’m really fortunate to have been able to share that with people. Also worth mentioning– the project is ongoing! I still have bunches of content to add, and will continue to update it as interfaces change. In addition to the emotional connection, I hope it’ll be an interesting look at how the design of these sites and interactions change over time.

Thank you again to Jessica Leber and FastCo.Exist for getting the site out there, and to Design Taxi for sharing it. Was also great to see it up in Brainstorm9 and Yorokobu, and to know that the experience seems to be universal.

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I’m very proud to be *officially* publishing my project User Experience of a Heartbreak.

UX3.us is a series of animations that describe what it feels like to use technology while going through breakup, and how evidence of you and your past partner seems to turn up almost everywhere. Not unlike the stabbing feeling you get in your gut when a song comes on that reminds you of your recently departed lover, technology holds evidence of your relationship that it can spring on you unannounced. These moments, though typically very mundane, can suddenly become irritating or even extremely amusing. Like somehow your phone and apps and computer and browser are all in the know about your personal life & emotions. (Which they kind of are.)

While going through a breakup last year, I decided to start taking screenshots to document these moments. I was surprised that it hurt to be “blocked.” I didn’t realize how many times I’d programmed his name to be the answer to my password security question “Who is your best friend?” And, to put it lightly, I did not appreciate his new partner being recommended as a “suggested friend.” In the smallest of ways, the internet seemed to have preserved our relationship (and its demise) in some sort of limbo–  with what had become these very superficial connections. It was the first time that my life online didn’t feel at all like my real life.


In addition to documenting, I also did some searching. The first thing I googled about my breakup was “does blocking someone on facebook end relationship.” But before I had finished typing, Google’s suggested query results appeared, and I stumbled upon this remarkable phenomenon of incredibly heartbroken people online– and they were trying to help each other! I’m talking Yahoo Answers forums from 2008, everyone cloaked in an anonymous avatar, saying things like “my ex wrote me an email and i don’t know if i should write back what should i do?”  And then a series of answers like, “dude don’t do it, step away” or the more insightful “Even though you still care for the person, you should really take the time to think about how this affects you.”

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I was kind of awestruck. Here were all these people experiencing this insanely painful thing, and these moments in time where they had trusted the internet to help them solve their problems. And it’s all archived for what I can only imagine is a very, very long time. All of these snippets of time, where this person or that was feeling so extremely vulnerable, is saved in some server somewhere. Even if that person is no longer heartbroken, or has been healed and heartbroken 3 times over since that post, that snippet is still alive. Whoa.

(Here’s one of my personal favorite sites. Even at a glance you can see how many people have shared story, after story, after story.)

It’s kind of wonderful that people look to Google for answers on anything from 2+2 to something incredibly personal.  Like, Google’s goddamn amazing ‘Parisian Love’ ad from 2010 was not messing around. I wanted that experience to be the landing page for my site so anyone who visited could identify with this heartbroken character who was just trying to find answers and get better. All the queries used on my site are taken from real searches. The animations are all versions of moments I experienced or that I imagine someone else has. There are so many more to add! I illustrated everything by hand, but of course all design is credited to the corresponding sites and applications.

I’ve read quite a few interesting articles related to my project. Here’s a handful:
Tangled Web of Memories Lingers After a Breakup,
Chat History Remembering a Relationship, One Chat at a Time
Bubbles Carry a Lot of Weight, and
People Feeling Insecure About Their Relationships Post About Them More on Facebook

I was also so incredibly inspired by
What Love Looks Like,
Screenshots of Despair,
Google Poetics,
Coding in Love,
Sorry I Haven’t Posted,
Old Loves,
The Ex-Lover’s T-Shirt photo series,
Holy Cow Lisa, and
the writing of Sasha Fletcher & Marie-Helene Bertino

And am very grateful to Alvaro Trigo and whoever made this for sharing their code to help the rest of us build sites that look half decent.

And of course so so many thanks to these folks who helped way more than they realize.


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