UCD vs Design Again? Really?!?

30 Aug 2009 - 10:27am
4 years ago
2 replies
557 reads
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 29, 2009, at 8:03 PM, J. Ambrose Little wrote:

> Look, I'm here because it seems pretty obvious to me that the best
> way to
> make software better is through a focus on people *and* good design.

The way to make better software is through a focus on your customers,
a good deal of top-notch engineering, good design to be married with
that engineering, and an ability to market and sell the product.
That's the whole point: It's not about just users. It's about all of
it, and to drop out any semblance of engineering and business
activities or to focus engineering and business on nothing but users
makes for a poorer product.

Did page rank come from analyzing users wants or needs? There's plenty
of technology out there that one could argue would have been stifled
if engineers were told to only focus on what people want or need, not
what is possible purely at the engineering level.

And for the people who claim UCD already involves engineering and
business, I say why the heck do people call it "user centered" design
then?

> Anyways, the point is that from my perspective (i.e., not having
> much vested
> interest in UCD, Usability, HCI, Design, IA, and so on), you're
> setting up
> an unnecessary (and damaging) dichotomy. It's not understanding
> people OR
> designing. It's both.

I have no idea where people get the notion I think it's one or the
other. Remember, I'm the guy who thinks interaction designers need to
know how to draw and graphic designers need to know how to design for
behaviors if they want to work on software. I'm the guy who thinks
type and color are important while also thinking that great code and
being able to write some of it is also important. I'm the one who
pushed for a far more holistic approach to the design of software
products for two decades now, while everyone in Silicon Valley kept
further and further segmenting their design teams into people who
could only perform certain types of design tasks instead of more.

I rant against UCD process and methods because in my experience, they
are not inclusive enough.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

Comments

30 Aug 2009 - 10:57am
Jarod Tang
2007

> Did page rank come from analyzing users wants or needs? There's plenty of
> technology out there that one could argue would have been stifled if
> engineers were told to only focus on what people want or need, not what is
> possible purely at the engineering level.
>
>From page Rank's history, it's hard to say it's not from analyzing users
needs, because the search engine that time ( before google ) cant provide
relevant infomation according to user's search intention ( in J.B's words,
data base of intention, and his book 'The
Search'<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Search_%28book%29>explains
the behind story elegantly).

2 cents.

-- Jarod
--
http://designforuse.blogspot.com/

30 Aug 2009 - 3:51pm
fritzism
2009

Yep Andrei this reminds me of the oft-mentioned Henry Ford quote
(paraphrased) regarding the production of the automobile... "If I
would've asked people what they wanted they would've said faster
horses..." I agree Apple may not follow UCD approaches to the letter
(as we might recognize) but they seem to be on the same track 37
Signals is on, which is a "design products that solve problems I am
experiencing..." which to me is UCD to an extent coupled with
"design towards an innovation that may not yet be understood (for
better or worse)..." Not sure if I'd call it 'higher' but it's
certainly a slightly different way of problem-solving through design
which is the point I was making earlier.

Just a thought. - Fritz

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