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.
I wrote this blog post with Jess from People For Research, about how to design the best research experience:
There’s no one perfect way to do user research. Every method has its pros and cons. The key is to design the research process. Just like anything else you might design (a website, a gadget, or a garden) it’s about:
Defining the problem(s) you want to solve
Coming up with a solution that works within the constraints of time and budget
Read the rest at People For Research.
How to Plan for Design (and Why)
Upon reflection, I noticed when I explain what I do, I assume the why and focus on how. This is a bad habit. I also realized that why and how are inseparable. It’s impossible to understand the value of planning for design without grasping the nature of the work. To argue for user research, content strategy, information architecture, and participatory design, we must integrate why and how.
Why This Florida City Is Debranding Itself
The identity, which was designed by the local branding agency Parisleaf, is typography-heavy, with the simple word “Gainesville” as the most prominent part of the brand. It’s an effort to communicate a much deeper transformation the city is currently undergoing. Its goal? To become the most citizen-friendly city in the country, using the principles of human-centered design.
Three Takeaways from the Hawai’i Missile False Alarm
To solve a problem like the erroneous Hawai’ian missile warning, we shouldn’t start with pattering on about dropdowns or confirmation screens. That’s solutioneering at its worst, and it does a disservice not only to the UX community as a whole but to the very people using these systems.
Good UX looks beyond the symptoms of “bad design.” It seeks the understand the problem, looking for convoluted processes, unclear outcomes, a lack of organizational advocacy for design values, and business priorities not aligning with user priorities. It asks why things are as they are, not how to quickly engineer a slapdash solution.