Design is everywhere. Starting with how the enormous and amazing Universe has formed and expanded in organized chaos, how the life appeared on earth, how nature lives in an exceptional balance and how this controversial beings called humans have appeared and how quickly they evolved.
Who’s to blame?
It all seems to be perfectly designed, isn’t it? By who? God knows?!. But who gives a crap about all this when you have no phone battery to immortalize in a selfie an amazing place somewhere in the mountains with high white peaks and virgin forests? or you drop your phone in a river placed in this breath-taking valley full of trees and chirping birds with a colorful rainbow above the waterfall, and that is before you tweet about how amazing it is? or even worst, you have no phone service or wi-fi to share live with your virtual friends a perfectly filtered ultra-hd video of you in front of the Mediterranean Sea explaining how wet and turquoise water is?
Of course, you will blame the Universe (or other entities) for ruining your moment of glory. In this case, let’s just admit that every design has its flaws.
Many design books and courses teach us that users don’t know what they want or what they need. In my experience, I’ve learned that this is often the case. Sometimes even when they are offered the best solution for a certain problem they have, users (as in humans) will still be stuck in old habits.
I remember some while ago when re-designing a sidebar for an app that contained a list of items, we chose to replace the default browser scroll-bar with a custom one, thinner, that only scaled on mouse-over. It looked nice, modern, animated for affordance, and we thought we got it all covered. But how things turned up, we didn’t. We’ve learned later that a lot of our users were just clicking the up and down buttons of the native scroll-bar in order to scroll. We obviously removed those in the new design and also all of our prototypes contained only a small number of items in the list. We didn’t even think of the assumption that the new scroll-bar should be tested. When in production, because there were no up/down buttons, users just assumed that we removed the scroll-bar completely as for constraining the number of items in the sidebar. Their workaround was to do more lists, each one containing a number of items that could fit in the height of the sidebar. This implied a lot of work for them like configuring extra pages, creating new hierarchies, etc.
What if nature is THE PERFECT design that provides us with everything we need from food to health and mindfulness? What if we are just some users stuck in old or bad habits, too dull to accept what’s beyond our limited understanding? (Let me be clear… there are multiple levels of dullness, so don’t get too offended)
Every person has it’s unique vision about things in general, shaped based on each individual experiences. Am I smarter than others? Maybe I am more experienced in certain aspects but most certainly am not on others. That is exactly why designers always need to test assumptions, to learn other perspectives and interpret “negative” feedback as constructive. Because it’s more efficient and way faster to reach valid results.
Like I wrote in a previous article Dare to become a better UX Designer, when we design, besides data we need to consider as many angles as we can in which our product will be looked at. This way we can make sure that the design it’s not for us, for our superiors or for a group of opinionated people that may represent a very small percentage of the business’s target.
The design has to be directed on solving problems, not on creating new ones. Ideally, we should focus on finding a medium and long-term solution rather than short-term. Design is a thinking process rather than design thinking is a process. It involves learning, creativity, and objectivity.
Learning is essential because it sets the foundation of your creativity. Whether you want to design a new product, re-design a website, changing a CTA, create a business strategy or build a platform like Facebook, no matter the size of the project, continuous learning is indispensable because it guides you to what you need to focus on in order to succeed.
Creativity means arranging acquired information into new shapes, that decreases the user’s effort on completing tasks. This is where value comes from and innovation starts.
Objectivity plays a crucial role in design (IMHO). It’s built from realistic data, subjective ideas, thoughts, and insights. However, this doesn’t mean we should ignore our instincts or that our experience is irrelevant. But our subjectivity should come from empathizing with people who will use the product.
With time our bag of knowledge and experiences grows and the more we know, the more feels like we understand Murphy’s law better. With that in mind and to keep the article’s random consistency, remember that we don’t own nature, it’s the other way around.
Thanks for reading! 🤘