Week 2 – Response to: The Fable of the User-Centered Designer



 

I sort of loved this reading. The content was great, and well laid out (good reader experience?). But, mostly, I loved the idea of taking a childhood story structure and replacing the lesson learned with something relevant to a group of adults today (like this example, technology designers). I’m sure this isn’t the first time it’s been done (according to the reading, the one minute manager followed a similar format), but it was a really neat and effective tool.

As I began the reading, I felt sort of like it was a Moleskin sponsored basic breakdown of ‘knowing your users’. It was all that creative or revolutionary. But, as it got to the three lessons (which very much reminded me of the three ghosts that visited Scrooge), I realized the importance of the content and the process. I don’t have a background as a designer (though I do think techniques I’ve learned from creative clear and concise videos or teaching students to use technology apply), but I can see big design firms having a certain level of inherit confidence/arrogance that would amount to “of course we know our users, we’re ______!” The sentiment of the user-centered designer is to throw that confidence out the window and start from scratch each time – do your research, learn what users’ needs are for this specific application. I think that’s valuable advice even for people in ITP as technologically savvy creators who, should we want to reach a larger scope of people with our work, have to acknowledge that most people in New York/America/the world don’t think like we do and don’t have the same skill sets as we do. A general goal I have while creating projects at ITP is to step out of the ITP bubble and talk to people who are in much different fields of employment with different strengths and weaknesses, because I think it will improve the accessibility of final products: whether it’s an mobile app or an installation that aims to bring to light the problem of climate change.

The last secret was also crucial, as I began thinking the same thing as the young designer in the story….this must all be time consuming. Because I’m so new to coding, design, and creating fancy things like apps, it would be my first inclination to get something made and coded as soon as possible and go from there. But the advice that I’ll remember from this reading is to try to get the experience and design figured out as much as possible before you even begin coding.

This reading has already helped me understand my very first project, my ‘vid flipper’ a bit more as well…a blog post on that to come!

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