Select Page
?

 

MANIFESTO

ONTOLOGICAL COMMITMENTS

VOCATIONAL BELIEF SYSTEM

DESIGN IS NOT GOOD

There’s a ten­den­cy in design think­ing to be a lit­tle pre­sump­tu­ous about con­flat­ing meth­ods and inten­tions. We have to keep in mind that human-cen­tered­ness doesn’t per se ensure great design, and human-cen­tered design isn’t vir­tu­ous in and of itself. It’s easy and nat­ur­al, I think, by dint of human-cen­tered design think­ing hav­ing “human” in the name and human expe­ri­ence in its scope to slip into com­pla­cen­cy about it being humane. But the world is full of prod­ucts, ser­vices, and media informed by deep, pre­cise under­stand­ing of human behav­ior, with that insight used care­less­ly – or worse, for human detri­ment or dis­ad­van­tage. I try to check in through­out a project to be sure the out­come is going to be ben­e­fi­cial and pos­i­tive, and remind teams not to assume that method­ol­o­gy auto­mat­i­cal­ly or inher­ent­ly yields good­ness.

METHOD DEVOUT, METHODOLOGY AGNOSTIC

This may be self-explana­to­ry, but what it means to me is that work­ing accord­ing to cer­tain design prin­ci­ples is more impor­tant than any spe­cif­ic cap­i­tal-M Methodology com­pli­ance. Of course, there are sit­u­a­tions where lit­er­al com­pli­ance is nec­es­sary and valu­able to be sure the design meets cer­tain stan­dards of non-lethal­i­ty, non-felony, etc., but most method­olo­gies (cooked up and evan­ge­lized by tech, often, because it’s so wild and com­pli­cat­ed) are real­ly just about estab­lish­ing com­mon vocab­u­lary and frames of ref­er­ence.

The truth is that rapid pro­to­typ­ing (whether you call it a “design sprint” or what­ev­er else), clear doc­u­men­ta­tion that isn’t use­less­ly pedan­tic, and so on are gen­er­al­ly good prin­ci­ples, but the same exact meth­ods aren’t suit­able for every team in every sit­u­a­tion and every goal. The real­i­ties of con­text and human ten­den­cies are more vari­able than that. Standard method­olog­i­cal frame­works can be good start­ing places, but I believe in doing what­ev­er it takes to get the best work done, and that some­times means set­ting aside the stan­dard method­ol­o­gy play­book.

EMPATHY IS THE BEGINNING, NOT THE END

If there is virtue to be found in design, the oppor­tu­ni­ties lie in the deci­sions and actions that fol­low from empath­ic meth­ods and user insight – in using enriched under­stand­ings of people’s expe­ri­ences to inform design meth­ods and results that make ver­i­fi­able improve­ments to those people’s lives, and in ensur­ing sys­tem­at­ic and struc­tur­al rein­force­ment of those improve­ments with require­ments and poli­cies of con­sis­ten­cy, con­ti­nu­ity, and account­abil­i­ty.

DESIGN IS 99% COMMUNICATION

Coming soon