Change

Monday, 30 November 1998
The first act is over. The light are off. The players are waiting for the curtain to close. I'm ready in the side scene to prepare the second act. I too am waiting for the curtain to close. It remains open. The players leave the stage in despair.

Backstage I run in stress to the other side. "Why is the curtain not closing?" My club mate looks surprised. "That was agreed, wasn't it?" "Not with me it was, and not with the players either. Better close the curtain now, I've got some work to do!" The curtain closes. Well, almost. A meter wide peek hole remains. The audience holds breath and peers at the stage not to miss anything.

During the break we discuss the misunderstanding. This curtain is slow. The director wishes to keep the play on speed. He prefers a quick change in the dark to a cloaked slow one. We agree on the next acts. The curtain will remain open, and the lights will be off.

All right. The lights fade out. The players leave the stage. It is my job to remove some glasses, and light a few candles. Blinded by the dark I fumble around on my knees. The technician hears my stumbling and lights a spot. What should have been a quick and silent action degenerates into a disaster. The audience sees a strange man on stage, crawling between the glasses. The commotion is huge. Funny remarks hit the stage. I grumbling light the candles and disappear into the side scene.

Involvement acts as a magnifying glass. Problems seem larger for a perfectionist who is in the middle of the process. An outside couldn't care less probably. The reactions after the play are enthusiastic. The audience had a great time. "Will you come back next year?"

Open curtain Next day I perform some usability tests of the SUMit website. The transitions between pages are part of that. Is navigation self explanatory? Which pages remain unseen? Are links clear? Are pages building fast enough? The screen transitions should be hidden for the reader. Well, a computer screen is not a play curtain. It is not possible to fade out the screen. You reader are like the audience at a theatre performance. Every time you get a peek behind the screens.

Reader, do me a favour. Close your eyes for a moment after you clicked something.

Till next week.
Nut