Why Designers Don’t Want to Think When They Read
It’s clear that the currency of design discourse is really concerned with the “how” of design, not the “why” of it. As Teixeira and Braga write:
While designers tend to be skeptical of magic formulas—we’re decidedly suspicious of self-help gurus, magic diets, or miraculous career advice—we have a surprisingly high tolerance for formulaic solutions when it comes to design.
Designers Are Defining Usability Too Narrowly
I would contend that it’s really no longer useful—or responsible—to think of the work we as designers do in such narrow terms. You don’t even need much imagination to expand the definition of “usability” in this way. Beyond just the study of practices that make digital products easier to use, it’s reasonable to think of usability as a field that considers what’s in the best interests of the user. Clearly, there are best practices to be learned when it comes to limiting children’s time, signaling danger to parents, discouraging successive sessions over short spans, and even for encouraging physical movement. That all sounds like usability to me.
We’re moving past the stage in the evolution of our craft when we can safely consider its practice to be neutral, to be without inherent virtue or without inherent vice. At some point, making it easier and easier to pull the handle on a slot machine reflects on the intentions of the designer of that experience. If design is going to fulfill the potential we practitioners have routinely claimed for years—that it’s a transformative force that improves people’s lives—we have to own up to how it’s used.
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The Problem with Patterns
Having a library of design components can sometimes give the impression that all the design work has been completed. Designers or developers can revert to using a library as clip art to create “off-the-shelf” solutions. Projects move quickly into development.
Although patterns do help teams hesitate less and build things in shorter amounts of time, it is how and why a group of patterns and components are stitched together that results in great design.
Since when did failure become good business?
In the end, if you decide that you want to embrace failure, do it upfront as a conscious part of your strategy. Conducting small, well-designed experiments where failure is expected will help you maximize learning from failure and better control the outcome.