John Maeda – A message on Design and Inclusion

I absolutely agree with this, something that I’ve felt is a required characteristic of a Ux Designer. We have to care about people. How our interfaces effect users. We want to be as inclusive as possible.

Design and Exclusion

Keynote_01-John Maeda

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Glory

Whatever you do, do it for glory

I am about to get a bit biblical on you. If this were church I would say do it for the glory of God. So let’s get real, when you are creating an interface for anything less than to be the best, to win an award it is just something created to fix a problem.

Research, Design, Solve and Build solutions that are ground-breaking. If not then there is something else out there that would’ve solved it. You would’ve easily solved the problem without all this work you put into to just “solve a problem” to just “shut a user group up” to just…to just isn’t enough.

Sure you’ll be helping a few people, but that’s just a few when you could help a whole multitude of people who didn’t even know they needed to be helped!

If you think your design is that “ish”, judge not before the appointed time. Until your designs are reviewed by a panel of professionals. Until word comes back if what you’ve put together is as great as you think it tobe. Well do you even think it’s that great? Are you proud of your work?

Design something you’d be proud of.

Conduct your research in a way to create something ground-breaking. Find places where others have failed and you can reign. If God is in the details, be specific.

If someone else can get credit for something you put together, it isn’t your work, not really, you just brought a few things together to create something different, but not something new.

Glory is achieved when people can see past the well crafted design and pickup on something unique, something new, breathtaking and they can put their finger on it. Whether it be a feeling or an action that is felt immediately and they then go back to see what exactly it was. That, now that’s glory.

I do beg of you tho, do it for the service of your craft, your industry, not for the popularity. Exploit the process not the designer. Be concerned about quality of your work. Quality research begets quality analysis, begets quality design, begets clean code, begets quality service. When you have doubters, people who wish to question your approach, you’re on the right path.

Study the rules, the best practices, the elements of design before you break them.

I sat where they sat

Have you ever met a user that doesn’t want your help? Someone married to their ways. Not all users want all the help that you can offer. They just want you to fix “one problem” and not touch anything else.

They’re like hedgehogs, the closer you get to their operation, the more they stick you with their protective quills.

So what do you do?

Show the love, show that you care, show that you know what you’re talking about. Sit where they sit. Work with them, become a co-laborer.

Why?

Your users may not just have problems or needs, they can be the problem, because of the way they deal with things. Users are people, people are protective of the way that they do things. They honestly won’t admit that the way they go about things are wrong. The possibility of them claiming that something else is better, is greater. Unless you, as a Ux Designer truly care about your users, you can’t help them.

Work with them

I don’t mean compromise. Don’t be blind to their needs, don’t ignore them and don’t use it as an opportunity to promote your intelligence. People don’t want to know what you know, how you do things, until you care to know what they know and to first do things their way.

Purposefully sit down with them and do their job/complete a task the way they do it. Experience their struggle. Talk about it, discuss it, brainstorm on the ways to make it better for the both of you [make it a team thing].

Some people are blind to their needs.

They might not know they need the help of your application. They have been grinding for so long, making it work, that they have ignored it. Their way of life, their way of doing things has been built upon it.

Be as concerned about the user, as you are of the user’s needs.

These opportunities can help you mature your interface. Give you a better understanding of how an expert vs novice user interacts with your interface.

You will have outlier users, “problem users” who don’t fit within targeted user group. You can deny their needs. Yet it is important to acknowledge that you will come across them, so expect them, accept them and give them an opportunity to help open your eyes. Those who give you the most headaches, cause the most problems, don’t understand what to do with your interface or how to use the tools to their benefit, need you the most. Not the users with zero complaints.

One of the best ways to discover needed resources is to need that very resource yourself.