You are not the Designer

The Design Process

Design is Strategy, it is a complex process that involves planning,  iterative problem solving and presentation…what you just read is my own definition of design since no generally-accepted definition of “design” exists, and based on this definition I write this article.

After building hills of scrapped up paper with hundreds of prototypes wireframed on it and spending sleepless feel you’ve done the right thing! You look at your product and Man, It looks just great!

Well, don’t smile because the next day when you wear your suit and take your designed product to the office you’ll get the criticism that you were not waiting for.

The Design Problem

Designing anything based on your own prefrences and biases is NOT  the best approach

I’m sure you only involved yourself in the design process! The problem that faces designers is that they they don’t fully understand the problem! and do their design based upon vague requirements and end up with a design that “looks good” from their point of view but has low functionality and doesn’t not meet the users needs.

“You are not the designer” by designer here I’m referring to the  emerging Designer Centered Designs!

You are not “Mr. Know it All” .. your User Experience/Interaction/.. titles is not what will make you understand how the user thinks. Experience of course will help you understand some thinking patterns..

Our down fall happens when we think that due to our Experiences “We understand how the user thinks and predict how he acts”

Unfortunately many of us after reading books about Usability/Information Architecture we develop a one dimensional model that is only affected by a few parameters and has a predictable output then we stereotype that model upon all of our users! Which is of course stupid, humans are complex..Period.

There is not one model or different models, each interface you build has its unique audience at a specific point in time. You can build the perfect interface for them now, but after some months this interface won’t satisfy their needs..For the times they are a-changin’ my friend.

The problem with these predictable models that we develop is that you will  imagine that this is how users think:

Actually this is how they think and act..

choas kid spaghetti

The Mighty Feedback Solution

If you can involve the whole company in the design process, it :) The more creatures(excluding  meat eaters) you involve, the more feedback you get..the better and more usable the design will get.

Take care, you must have the V.I.S.I.O.N .. something that they don’t have and that is what makes you different, that is what makes you a designer and remember what Henry Ford said

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.

So how can understanding the way your users interact will help you in the interface design? Well, it will allow you to put yourself in their shoes which will enable you to design what he/she actually  “Needs” and what they think they”Want” .. in the end they will come to you, as your service satisfies their needs.

Henry ford was not labelled a designer, he didn’t have Photoshop installed (there where no Adobe products in the 1940s) but he Understood How Things Work .. he understood the needs and that is what makes him an entrepreneurs and all are entreprenerus are great designers because they put all their blood, sweat and tears into their dreams till they become reality.

Involve as many people as possible in the process and design from your heart, tackle the causes not the symptoms :)

Author: Mahmoud El-Magdoub
Twitter: @Magdoub

7 responses to “You are not the Designer

  1. Pingback: You are not the Designer #webdesign #ui #IX #IXD #layout |·

  2. Pingback: You are not the Designer #webdesign #ui #IX #IXD #layout |·

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