I don’t talk a lot about my day job here, but let's just say: Usability is my religion. (And I mean that not as a god that I worship, but as an essential practice; a series of careful attentions.) In my work that means making user interfaces easier for the people -- but it’s a passion that extends beyond the screen. Usability is about access -- letting people in. Empowering people to get things done.
And y’all know I’ve been nursing a crush on Mr. Obama for some time -- spurred in large part by the time I saw him speak at an event here in town when he was campaigning for Senate. First off it was tremendous to see a political figure think and speak so eloquently on his feet, seeing how we’ve learned to settle for so much less in recent years. And then there was what he said: All over it, baby. You’re speaking to me.
I’ve been disappointed in the inability of the Obama campaign to get their arms around the online component of getting their word out. They’re ham-handing their email communications, their Tweetin' is tedious, and that mess with Facebook -- where the campaign shut down an Obama fangroup so that they could co-opt the group name  -- was just plain embarrassing.
However. It’s time to love someone in this race, and I can’t shake my feelings for Barack.
The realization of which smacked me hard this morning when I read this little bit in a piece on Obama’s economic policies (always too brief, these mainstream media reads of anyone’s economic policies):
Several Obama proposals have their roots in the academic field known as behavioral economics, which points out how often people can be tripped up by complex bureaucracies. Mr. Obama sometimes talks about an “iPod government” that can achieve its aims by presenting choices -- like Medicare drug plans. Under one proposal, Medicare would be required to present its prescription drug plans more clearly, to cut down on the number of people who sign up for a more expensive one that they need.
His interest in “ease, convenience and usability,” he said, came from two sources, his years as a community organizer in Chicago, where he often saw people struggle to understand the choices they had, and his own experience trying to make sense of his 401(k) plan.
From Obama Emphasizes Middle-Class Relief More than Deficit Reduction in this morning’s New York times.
Love it. But that "iPod Government" moniker is just plain silly.
How 'bout we swap it out for Power to the People -- because when you’re talking usability, that’s what you're talking about.
p.s. Bloomberg also ran a piece on the iPod Government thing »
 Speaking from memory on that one -- will google a little more aggressively and see if I can provide a link to the source story.
Update: Strike Power to the People. Swap in Yes We Can. With many thanks to aija for the link.