Author:

A Los Angeles native, Stuart Silverstein’s design career began in visual design and brand development—but a love of lifehacking and usability translated into a transition from visual designer to UX designer in 2007 and he hasn’t looked back. Currently Stuart is a lead UX designer on Fandango.com. In his 11+ years in the design business, Stuart has worked with brands like Activision, Gateway, The Mattress Store, and The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. He is also a contributor to many periodicals as well as featured speaker for Internet Retailer, and the HOW Interactive Design Conference on strategy, design and process flow. His website is www.stuartsilverstein.com, where he blogs on all types of UX and design related topics.

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Changing Perspective: A New Look At Old Problems

There is an old story of blind men and an elephant. The blind men all meet and are asked to describe the elephant. One says that an elephant is long and skinny like a snake. The other says that the first doesn’t know what he is talking about and says an elephant is like the trunk of a tree, round and thick. The third says they are both wrong, that an elephant is wide and circular like a giant disc.

Changing Perspective: A New Look At Old Problems

In some versions, they stop talking, start listening and collaborate to “see” the full elephant. When a sighted man walks by and sees the elephant, they also learn they are blind. It doesn’t take us very long to figure out that each of the men is talking about a different part of the elephant (trunk, leg and ear, respectively). The men are blind, so they fail to take in the whole elephant. Because their experience was limited to a certain part of the elephant, they assumed that the elephant was the part they could see. One could only feel that the elephant was a trunk, so he thought it was like a snake.

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