How do we make Good Design so important to companies that they ensure that it is a component part of the product or service they are taking to market?
Part of the fallout from World Usability Day was a question raised by Jared Spool – Is World Usability Day Harmful for Practitioners? Part of this question was the relationship between design and usability and the importance of promoting good design and not alienating the business who might engage us to help them create good design.
In a subsequent comment conversation I got to wondering, again, about what we can do to make good design more of a priority. How can we change business processes and product development cycles so that rather than design being an afterthought, the quest for good design moves up the food chain and becomes more of an imperative, a requirement than a potential differentiator.
Jared is concerned that the focus on usability (which in isolation from design, does tend to take an almost disciplinarian approach to how things work) has the potential to alienate companies who might otherwise be inspired to engage with good design practices.
I think he has a point… for a moment I’d forgotten that for some, usability DOES exist in isolation from design (where people specialise in finding things that are broken and rousing on the designers who designed it that way).
Jared says we should just keep doing good design work and that eventually, the balance will shift and good design methodologies will become part of the overall business process for more companies.
(how many times can I say ‘good design’ in one post?!)
But, and tell me if I’ve being overly optimistic and idealistic here…
I think that there might be other things that we can do to help turn the tide.
What if we spent less time talking to each other about how important good design is, and spent a bit of energy evangalising the power and importance of good design to the end user, the consumer, the man and woman on the street, the people who open their wallets to buy the goods and services designed by the companies who may or may not care about good design.
Can we help educate and inspire people who buy mobile phones and who catch trains and who buy their groceries online to expect good design, to DEMAND good design? And can we do this in way that likewise inspires businesses to see good design as an opportunity, rather than alientating them, shaming them, putting them in the corner like a bad student?
Can we harness consumer power to promote the benefits of good design? To make good design culturally entrenched? Just part of our every day life?
I reckon we can. Although I’m not quite sure just now.
this new social app helps you manage your money better by providing a range of helpful tools and personalised community content… if you’re willing to hand over all your financial details. It almost scares me to think that we’re ready to share this much!
oooh! I’m loving this discussion (Joshua Porter has pulled together the threads really nicely in this post). I have to agree that IA as we knew it has already evolved and will continue to do so, taxonomies are not the answer and folksonomies are not flawless.
I’m still thinking on this, but Peter Morville just suggested to the IA Institute mailing list that we save these ‘obituaries until the 2050 IA Summit’. Me, I’d rather think of it as reincarnation than straight out death.
people could “click on you to link to your blog.” He adds, “You could go to a football match and be able to see information on the players, or ball movement, or tactics by looking at the field with your device.”
Just for the record, if Kevin ever sends you an email out of the blue and asks you to participate in 20×2. You must say yes.
20×2 is an ongoing project that exists to showcase the creativity that lurks in each of us. Writers, musicians, filmmakers, web geeks and other bon vivants are asked to take two minutes each to answer the question of the day. The results can be as varied as the emotions and reactions they evoke.
Of course, it’s quite terrifying in the lead up, trying to come up with something vaguely interesting that answers a question like ‘Where Am I?’, but you’ll be well rewarded by all the thought processes you go through in the run up, and you get to have a great night out and meet lots of great people, and see some really creative and interesting responses to the question.
I really love this format. I’m thinking of how I can borrow it for other uses!
(I probably should have told you about this BEFORE the event (sorry Kevin!) but I wasn’t quite brave enough).
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me