This has been my week so far:
Tuesday I went up to Manchester for the usability labs, which were very interesting. (This was arranged by an outside company, the one who is doing the site audit; a representative sample of our presumed customer base, who were unfamiliar with the site but familiar with the products, were hired to come into their offices, surf the site, try to buy things, and give feedback. It was fascinating: you assume, being a computer-literate person, what the average visitor would do on the site. I’ve always called it the “Mom Test.” Could my mother navigate the site, find what she wants, and buy it without being confused/uncertain/traumatised in any way? People are AMAZING. I know people don’t read much online, but I would have assumed that they read simple instructions or even button lables. I was wrong. There were quite a few areas where our assumptions were very wrong. The whole checkout process needs to be torn apart (again). But I came out of it with reams of notes that I was using today to make changes, and we’ll have about eight hours of tapes to go through.
Last night I had the most horrible nightmare. In the dream I had placed a dead child in the bathtub. It wasn’t my child, and I hadn’t killed him, but I definitely sat him in the tub for reasons that I have now forgotten and he was mine, I was responsible for him. The dream then shifted, as dreams do, and the bathtub was now in our bedroom. I remember waking up, knowing that the dead boy was there, and then I realised that he was looking at us as we slept. I woke crying out, the dream hanging around me, still so very real. It was awful, and my heart was pounding. I made Phil go downstairs with me and I had hot milk while we watched mindless crap on TV for awhile (Earthquake with Charlton Heston). Finally we were calmed down enough to go back to sleep, and…
…the churbles woke up. It was evidently crack night at the rat house, and they were bouncing off the walls. I got up with them several times, letting them run around and work off the drugs, before putting them back and going back to bed, only to be woken up by the sound of a two-foot, four+ pound rat trying to destroy a steel dog cage. I got up and let them out a final time, and got on the computer just to keep myself awake, and was dazedly reading LJs when I was awoken by a shower of dust and crap falling out of the fireplace.
Aja. The fucking rat had climbed up the chimney while I wasn’t watching. O holy god. Again I woke Phil, because I couldn’t feel her anywhere, and he reached in for her, caught her tail, and pulled her from an internal ledge by brute force (it takes a LOT of force to make a giant African rat do anything they don’t want to do). She was completely covered in a thick layer of grey dust, and absolutely furious that we’d dumped her back in the cage.
All in all, with the dead kid and the bad rat problems, I had about 2 1/2 hours sleep last night. And so, good night. :)