post post Jan 23, 2023

Can Learning to Ski teach you about User Experience Design? ChatGPT thinks so

As I was packing up for a weekend away at the slopes, this question popped into my head. I didn’t know the answer, but it sounded interesting, and that’s a perfect recipe for ChatGPT.

by Greg Robleto

Ski Poles in the Snow

Photo by Samuel Ferrara on Unsplash

Can learning to ski can make you a better designer?

As I was packing up for a weekend away at the slopes, this question popped into my head. I didn't know the answer, but it sounded interesting, and that's a perfect recipe for ChatGPT.

I asked ChatGPT this question and three more related to finding connections between the world of the ski slopes and the world of the internet. I touched up the results and posted them on Twitter and Mastodon threads respectively.

Let's see how smart an AI that's never designed nor skied was at finding connections.

How is Skiing like UX Design?

Minorly edited answers provided by ChatGPT

Three skiers riding down the mountain

Photo of skiing by Banff Sunshine Village on Unsplash

  1. **Both involve planning and preparation.
    **Before skiing, the skier must consider terrain, snow conditions, and their own skill level. Similarly, a UX designer must consider factors such as user needs, goals, and constraints.
  2. Both require the ability to adapt to unexpected challenges.
    On the mountain, a skier may encounter unexpected obstacles such as ice or moguls. Similarly, in UX design, a designer may encounter unexpected challenges, such as changes in project scope or client requirements.
  3. Both require iteration and testing.
    Skiers may need to try different slopes or adjust their form to find the best way to ski. Similarly, UX designers may need to create multiple designs and test them with users before arriving at the optimal solution.
  4. **Both require constant learning.
    **Skiing requires constant learning and practice to improve skills and be able to ski on different terrains, Similarly, the field of UX design is constantly evolving, and designers need to keep learning new skills and tools to stay current.
  5. **Both require attention to detail.
    **In skiing, minor errors in technique or equipment can lead to accidents or poor performance. Similarly, in UX design, small details in the layout or wording can significantly impact a product's usability and effectiveness.

Grade: B+

Nothing earth-shattering, but a solid list that I can agree all five items have application in skiing and design.

How is a Ski Slope an apt metaphor for Onboarding a New Hire?

Minorly edited answers provided by ChatGPT

A photo of a mountain in the distance with all the many ski slopes visible.

Photo of ski slopes by Amelia Speight on Unsplash

  1. **Both require a gradual introduction.
    **Skiing on a steep slope can be daunting for beginners, so they may start on a gentler slope to build confidence and skills. Similarly, new hires can be overwhelmed, so it' helps to introduce them to the company and their role gradually.
  2. **Both require guidance and support.
    **A ski instructor can provide guidance & support to help a skier navigate the slope and improve their technique. Similarly, a mentor or manager can provide guidance & support to help a new hire navigate their new role and company culture.
  3. **Both require practice and repetition.
    **Skiing on a slope requires practice and repetition to build muscle memory and improve technique. Similarly, onboarding a new hire requires practice and repetition to learn new skills and become comfortable with their new role.
  4. **Both require a clear destination.
    **Skiers have a clear destination, the bottom, and they navigate the slope to reach the destination, Similarly, new hire's destination is delivering company objectives, and they need to navigate the culture and processes to get there.
  5. **Both require a clear plan.
    **Skiers need a clear plan to navigate the slope safely, Similarly, new hires need a clear plan to navigate the onboarding process successfully and reach the desired outcome.

Grade: D

A strong start with the gradual introduction, but I disagree with the requirements of having clear destinations. Skiing is about enjoying the journey, not arriving at the destination.

How is a Ski Lodge like a well-designed Website?

Minorly edited answers provided by ChatGPT

Outside a ski lodge and the ski mountain behind it.

Photo of a Ski Lodge by Joan Oger on Unsplash

  1. A ski lodge welcomes visitors and provides a warm and inviting atmosphere, just like a good website welcomes users and provides a user.
  2. A ski lodge provides clear and easy-to-follow signage to help visitors find what they need, just like a good website provides clear navigation to help users find the information they need.
  3. A ski lodge provides amenities and services to make visitors' experience more comfortable, just like a good website provides features and functionality to make users' experience more efficient and enjoyable.
  4. A ski lodge is designed to accommodate different needs and preferences, just like a good website is designed to be accessible and usable for different users and devices.
  5. A ski lodge is regularly maintained and updated to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. A good website is regularly maintained and updated to ensure optimal performance and security.

Grade: C+

I must have changed the question's parameters because this set of answers didn't have a comparison provided before the examples, forcing reading each bullet thoroughly to understand the comparison. Those comparisons were mainly pretty weak, but I felt it saved falling to a lower grade with the last unexpected point about security.

How is fake snow (used for skiing) like dark patterns (used on the web)?

Minorly edited answers provided by ChatGPT

Machines blowing snow onto the slopes at night.

Photo of snowmaking by Aaron Doucett on Unsplash

  1. **Both fake snow and dark patterns are manipulative.
    **Fake snow used for skiing aims to manipulate skiers into thinking they have a snowy environment, just like dark patterns on the web aim to manipulate users into performing actions they may not have chosen.
  2. Both fake snow and dark patterns can be harmful.
    Fake snow can harm the environment, while dark patterns can harm users by tricking them into providing personal information or making unwanted purchases.
  3. Both fake snow and dark patterns can be misleading.
    Fake snow may not provide the same quality of skiing as natural snow, and dark patterns use manipulative design tactics to trick users into performing actions.
  4. Both fake snow and dark patterns can be used to gain an advantage.
    Ski resorts may use fake snow to increase revenue and attract more skiers, while companies may use dark patterns to increase revenue by tricking users.
  5. Both fake snow and dark patterns are considered unethical.
    They both can have negative impacts on the environment and users, respectively.

Grade: A-

I read this one, and it gave me new perspectives. I think that is using ChatGPT at its best.

Final Grade: B-

Honestly, I probably would have given up on this activity before having found five examples for the first question. Once I realized I was straining the comparisons, I expected I would abandon the effort.

But the beauty of ChatGPT is that it doesn't have such self-referential thoughts and works at the speed of computing, so before there was room for doubt, there were answers. They aren't brilliant some answers do make you think differently, and that's what you want out of challenging questions.

What topics would you like to see covered the next time I turn the tweeting over to ChatGPT? I'm open to suggestions.

Disclaimer: The thoughts and grades listed above, the accurate and especially the inaccurate, are my own... except where noted that they are from an AI, but then I'm the one who confirmed including them, so those are also mine, too; I suppose. I don't understand intellectual ownership in the new world of AI writing. But in any case, they have no reflection on my employer, who I can confidently say is not an AI and seldom writes about skiing.