DOI: 10.1145/3050245 COPYRIGHT HELD BY AUTHOR
a push to have them look better
unfolds. The words and the semantics
of the words count. They affect
whether or not design is perceived as
inconsequential, and they are part of
how we educate teams that design is the
process, the journey to the solution.
I have been trying this approach. I’m
making a conscious effort to talk about
the various stages of product creation
in terms of how the process contributes
to the final outcome of the product
and the experience users have with the
product, rather than referring to any
part of the process as the design, as if the
design is this ultimate end product that
magically appears. An example: When
referring to the design research, I explain
how research is a way to understand
what the users are expecting out of the
product or how workflows need to be
created. Because these things form the
backbone of identifying how the users
move through the product to accomplish
tasks, or how the technology and data
architecture contribute to when and how
users see information and interact with it.
As creators, collectors of ideas and
possibilities, the words we choose to use,
and how we use them, can elevate our
conversations away from the end results
and toward the process and the journey.
That is the heart of the design.
It is perhaps a statement of the
obvious, but worth emphasizing, that
the forms or structures of the immediate
world we inhabit are overwhelmingly
the outcome of human design. They are
not inevitable or immutable and are
open to examination and discussion.
Whether executed well or badly (on
whatever basis this is judged), designs
are not determined by technological
processes, social structures, or economic
systems, or any other objective source.
They rvesult from the decisions and
choices of human beings. While the
influence of context and circumstance
may be considerable, the human factor is
present in decisions taken at all levels in
Monica Granfield is a user experience
strategist at Go Design LLC.
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