I didn't realize my heartstrings would be tugged quite so often.
We're about to release (tonight) a product that will help people who are caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's. I've learned a lot about the disease in the process of designing this interface - and for the first time I have had to take into account the fact that my designs will evoke strong emotions in people. I mean, design often elicits delight, frustration, or in extremely bad (not mine) cases, cursing. :> But I've never had one of my designs bring someone to tears before. Until I worked at Caring.
We're doing usability testing on the alzheimer's product right now. I spent the entire day today doing nothing but talking to people who are caring for husbands and wives and mothers and fathers with Alzheimer's. It's both heartwarming and heartwrenching to hear their stories, to hear the emotion in their voices as they describe what they're going through, what they worry about, and what they hope for. These are such different people, each approaching the challenges of life in their own unique way.
Alzheimer's is a horrible, horrible disease. Like ALS, it's hopeless, degenerative. Unlike ALS, it wreaks emotional havoc on the people who surround the afflicted person. And there are few things that make you love humanity more than hearing the woman who has been caring for her husband (of 56 years) with alzheimer's for eight years say "I'm happy to do anything you need as long as it'll help other people."
I'm so proud to be part of this effort, and I'm so proud to be human. We've got bad apples, but we also have so many beautiful, shining souls out there.