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

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