Should designers listen to people?

Nice post here on several common design problems: We listened to the people, not the problem.

The money quote:

“When flexibility itself overtakes your solution, or worse, becomes your solution… that’s a problem.”

Too often the takeaway from experiences like this is “don’t listen to people”. But this does not capture the subtlety of the situation. A better way to frame this is to recognize what the designer’s role in product design really is. The designer’s role is to understand the problem space, including the market, the people, and what the people are trying to do. Then they have to make decisions about the product that directly affect the people using it, that direct their attention in certain ways, that add capability, that remove capability, and very often constrains the way some people will use it.

This is a good thing. Designers should be making tough choices and avoiding one-size-fits-all approach. When you design for everyone, you design for no one.

Published: December 12th, 2013

Hi there. So...I'm trying an experiment. I'm experimenting with product design and growth hacking strategies on a new project called What to Wear. It's a super simple service that sends you a daily email containing clothing recommendations based on the weather. My focus is to make it really useful, and it's free to sign up. Let me know what you think!