We don't make consumer products, hence no need for a User Centered Design development process.

24 Aug 2009 - 7:59am
5 years ago
29 replies
1277 reads
Ali Naqvi
2008

Time and time again I am being told that a user centered design
development process isn't needed in our company since we do not make
consumer products.

Yet we make web interfaces for them to use, we create billions of
features for them to use etc.

A manager said last week: "We are a technology driven corporation
and that is why we are so successful".

Comments

26 Aug 2009 - 7:18am
asbjorn
2009

"Consumers" don't equal "users".

"Customers" do.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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26 Aug 2009 - 8:19am
milan
2005

On Wed, August 26, 2009 08:18, Asbjorn wrote:
> "Consumers" don't equal "users".
> "Customers" do.

Not always: for example, Oracle's customer is an organisation represented
by some manager, who decides to buy that large ERP suite to solve a
business problem, while users are actually just users or "end users". They
don't equal customers, more so employees, business partners, job
candidates or whatever.

By the way, in the German software development community, there is a
distinction between "Anwender" and "Benutzer", both translated as "user".
But the first one is someone buying a software to solve a problem not
necessarily directly using it, the second is someone actually interacting
with the product. They are the same only if the person involved is a
consumer/private person. (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benutzer)

Milan

--
||| | | |||| || |||||||| | || | ||
milan guenther * interaction design
p +49 173 2856689 * www.guenther.cx

26 Aug 2009 - 9:46am
jet
2008

On Wed, August 26, 2009 08:18, Asbjorn wrote:
> "Consumers" don't equal "users".
> "Customers" do.

That's not universally true, especially here in the US. Motorola's
customer for mobile phones are the carriers, not the end users. When
Verizon had Motorola disable Bluetooth on the RAZR, it wasn't to benefit
the end user (me), it was to benefit Verizon so they could sell me data
transfer over the network by the byte.

Another example is cable boxes -- I don't really have any say in the
features of a STB, the cable company works with Scientific Atlanta or
whomever to develop the features of the box. (Granted, CableCARD will
change this dynamic quite a bit.)

--
J. Eric 'jet' Townsend, IDSA
Designer, Fabricator, Hacker
design: www.allartburns.org; hacking: www.flatline.net; HF: KG6ZVQ
PGP: 0xD0D8C2E8 AC9B 0A23 C61A 1B4A 27C5 F799 A681 3C11 D0D8 C2E8

26 Aug 2009 - 11:10am
Ali Naqvi
2008

Why can't I read the replies?? I can see that people have replied bt
when I try to access the post, its empty! Its frustrating...

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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26 Aug 2009 - 12:37pm
Claudia Oster
2009

I also can't see the posts in this thread!!
Help us! :-)

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 Aug 2009 - 2:56am
Jeff Howard
2004

Ali asked:
> Why can't I read the replies?? I can see that people
> have replied bt when I try to access the post, its empty!
> Its frustrating

Sorry about that. A little database bug with apostrophes in the
subject line. Should be fixed for the time being. If it breaks again,
please e-mail the feedback address at the bottom of the page rather
than posting in the thread; there's a much better chance that
someone will see your help request.

// jeff

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27 Aug 2009 - 3:11am
Ali Naqvi
2008

Thanks Jeff. Could you post my reply also? :)

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Posted from the new ixda.org
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27 Aug 2009 - 11:56am
pyces
2007

That is an excellent point. Thank you for sharing your story - the
personal situation really puts it in perspective. Another example of how
the designer/UX person is not the user... I'm glad that a developer at
the App Store recognized that gap. I agree that the panic button should
have been pre-installed. How does the Panic button you installed work? I
assume you still have to wake and unlock your phone.

Thanks,
Courtney

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Joan Vermette
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 1:40 PM
To: IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] We don\'t make consumer products, hence no
need for a User Centered Design development process.

Yes, I think the iPhone is not easy to use. Here's my example:

I bought my iPhone about a week ago, and a few days later I had a
personal safety issue arise. With my old phone in that instance, I
would have quickly dialed 911 and kept my thumb poised over the "call"
button. The motion involved in that would have been:

Flipping open phone.
Feeling for raised keys on a keypad very like every other phone I've had
since 1978.
Glancing down for the call button.
Placing my thumb on it.
Holding phone in my hand.

With my iPhone, the motion involved:

Waking up the phone.
Unlocking the phone.
Getting out of the last app I was in when the phone fell asleep.
Clicking the phone button.
Finding and clicking the button to bring up the phone keypad.
Dialing 911.
Realizing I couldn't easily hover over the call button because I was so
nervous and the touch screen so sensitive.
Holding phone in my hand.
**/Waking up the phone again to check it.
Unlocking the phone
Holding it in my hand./**

In the midst of this (and with a creep possibly following me on a dark,
empty street) I began to realize that I could probably change the
settings so the phone would not fall asleep so quickly, but was too
scared to attempt it. I also wished for a panic button, but certainly
was not going to browse the App Store in those circumstances.

There was some clear user error in that scenario - I should have just
made the potentially needless 911 call and had the police talk me
through my fear -- but given the occasion I wasn't really thinking
straight. I'd hoped I was wrong about being followed; talking to police
would have made that fear paradoxically seem more real. That's silly,
yes - but perhaps understandable, nonetheless? When I've been in
similar circumstances before, I've noticed a emotive cycle of "fear/
feel like a silly ass," and I believe that is typical - and for us in
this discussion, illustrative of the real emotional user contexts for
which we designers need to account. Note that my old conventional phone
accounts for this emotional context by providing a hard button that
can't easily be pressed accidentally. I haven't figured out if the
iPhone accounts for this at all - it didn't in a way that was easily
learnable at the time.

So yes, I think the iPhone is hard to use. I've since downloaded an app
called "911" that is a panic button: it would be good to have that
installed with the iPhone from the factory. At the time, I certainly
needed it more than I needed a "Stocks" button, for instance, which does
come pre-installed.

So in conclusion, I do feel strange about sharing so much. I've shared
this because I believe it's a classic example of the "don't make me
think" rule - in this instance, my needing to think just may have come
at the cost of my life, for all I knew. Also, please forgive me the
slight snideness of the "since 1978" line, above - I realize that there
may also have been a learning curve involved if I were using an
unfamiliar conventional phone, but I still don't think it would have
been as great a curve as the learning I had to do with my iPhone. My
iPhone still took eight unfamiliar steps instead of five relatively
familiar ones banking on established phone interface designs, and I
think that makes it hard to learn and hard to use.

I'm fine, and there's been no sign of my stalker, since.

Thanks.
/www.ixda.org/guidelines List Help ..................
http://www.ixda.org/help

27 Aug 2009 - 12:17pm
pyces
2007

But it still holds true that to the user, Joan, it wasn't "immediately
learnable" given a high-stress, potentially dangerous situation. I
wouldn't expect to see emergency call on the keyboard of my phone, and
would never think to look there. To me, it might as well not be there at
all, for all that I would be able to find and use it when I needed it.
Especially in a high-stress, dangerous situation, people aren't going to
try to figure out something new - they are going to stick to the
procedure that they know will work, no matter how long it takes.

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Andrei Herasimchuk
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 2:03 PM
To: IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] We don\'t make consumer products, hence no
need for a User Centered Design development process.

On Aug 27, 2009, at 10:40 AM, Joan Vermette wrote:

> With my iPhone, the motion involved:
>
> Waking up the phone.
> Unlocking the phone.

If the iPhone is locked, there is a button on it that says "Emergency
Call" on the keycode screen (bottom left) which bypasses nearly all of
the steps you listed and lets you get to talking to 911 immediately.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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27 Aug 2009 - 12:23pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 27, 2009, at 11:17 AM, Jordan, Courtney wrote:

> But it still holds true that to the user, Joan, it wasn't "immediately
> learnable" given a high-stress, potentially dangerous situation.

I don't agree that "immediately learnable" equates to hard to use.

> I wouldn't expect to see emergency call on the keyboard of my phone,
> and
> would never think to look there. To me, it might as well not be
> there at
> all, for all that I would be able to find and use it when I needed it.

Again, this has little to do with "hard to use" in my opinion. Once
you do see it or know it's there, one can make a pretty good case it's
quite easy to use.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

27 Aug 2009 - 12:51pm
jayeffvee
2007

All that said, even now that I'm sitting perfectly safe in my home
office and you've described the appropriate button for me to use, I
still can't find it.

I do recognize that there is a distinction between learnability and
ease of repeat use but they are not entirely separate, are they?
Certainly, both last Sunday evening in the dark and fully spooked -
and here safe in my office looking for the button - that distinction
seems quite blurred, indeed.

On Aug 27, 2009, at 2:23 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

>
> On Aug 27, 2009, at 11:17 AM, Jordan, Courtney wrote:
>
>> But it still holds true that to the user, Joan, it wasn't
>> "immediately
>> learnable" given a high-stress, potentially dangerous situation.
>
> I don't agree that "immediately learnable" equates to hard to use.
>
>> I wouldn't expect to see emergency call on the keyboard of my
>> phone, and
>> would never think to look there. To me, it might as well not be
>> there at
>> all, for all that I would be able to find and use it when I needed
>> it.
>
> Again, this has little to do with "hard to use" in my opinion. Once
> you do see it or know it's there, one can make a pretty good case
> it's quite easy to use.
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>

Joan Vermette
email: jayeffvee at mac.com
primary phone: 617-495-0184

27 Aug 2009 - 1:00pm
pyces
2007

Andrei probably isn't one who worries about being stalked on dark
streets, thus his concept of something being easily usable (once one
knows something exists, where to look and is able to find it) isn't
typical of the female user who would probably more often need this
button (trying to be PC here). Although I'm sure it does happen to men,
it's much more often females who are followed on a dark (and possibly
unfamiliar) street. I think in a life or death case, something needs to
be immediately learnable. People need to make an emergency call in as
little time as possible - as you said, it can make the difference
between living to tell this story and not.

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
Joan Vermette
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2009 2:52 PM
To: IXDA list
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] We don\'t make consumer products, hence no
need for a User Centered Design development process.

All that said, even now that I'm sitting perfectly safe in my home
office and you've described the appropriate button for me to use, I
still can't find it.

I do recognize that there is a distinction between learnability and
ease of repeat use but they are not entirely separate, are they?
Certainly, both last Sunday evening in the dark and fully spooked - and
here safe in my office looking for the button - that distinction seems
quite blurred, indeed.

On Aug 27, 2009, at 2:23 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

>
> On Aug 27, 2009, at 11:17 AM, Jordan, Courtney wrote:
>
>> But it still holds true that to the user, Joan, it wasn't
>> "immediately learnable" given a high-stress, potentially dangerous
>> situation.
>
> I don't agree that "immediately learnable" equates to hard to use.
>
>> I wouldn't expect to see emergency call on the keyboard of my phone,
>> and would never think to look there. To me, it might as well not be
>> there at all, for all that I would be able to find and use it when I
>> needed it.
>
> Again, this has little to do with "hard to use" in my opinion. Once
> you do see it or know it's there, one can make a pretty good case it's

> quite easy to use.
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>

Joan Vermette
email: jayeffvee at mac.com
primary phone: 617-495-0184

________________________________________________________________
Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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27 Aug 2009 - 1:02pm
Ali Naqvi
2008

Dave,
I get your point. I am a problem fixer too. I have managed to
convince my manager to let me talk with those who "listen" and can
make a difference.
I have tons of ideas. It takes time. I know it does.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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27 Aug 2009 - 1:16pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 27, 2009, at 12:00 PM, Jordan, Courtney wrote:

> Andrei probably isn't one who worries about being stalked on dark
> streets, thus his concept of something being easily usable (once one
> knows something exists, where to look and is able to find it) isn't
> typical of the female user who would probably more often need this
> button (trying to be PC here).

I'm purposefully did not respond to the situation or make value
judgements on the scenario. I simply pointed out that the steps listed
by Joan were in fact not accurate. I did this in hope that maybe Joan
would reassess her scenario and compare apples to apples.

To clarify, if your iPhone is locked (as listed in step #2 of Joan's
scenario), in the bottom left corner of the passcode screen is a
button that says "Emergency Call." Taping that button goes directly to
the iPhone's keypad for making phone calls, where you can type 911 and
hit the call button. This bypasses all of the steps Joan listed in her
scenario. Now knowing this, the question becomes (for her) I think,
whether she still thinks the iPhone is hard to use when compared to
other phones.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

27 Aug 2009 - 1:23pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 27, 2009, at 12:16 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:
> I'm purposefully did not respond to the situation

"I'm purposefully..."

And one of these years, I'll finally learn how copy edit my own crap
in the same way I've learned how to copy edit tech specs. /sigh.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

27 Aug 2009 - 1:53pm
Kevin Silver
2010

And you have to have the passcode enabled. You can do this in
settings>general>passcode lock. It took me a few minutes to figure out
what Andrei was talking about. I'm a new iPhone owner as well and
didn't have the passcode screen enabled.

On Aug 27, 2009, at 3:16 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

>
> On Aug 27, 2009, at 12:00 PM, Jordan, Courtney wrote:
>
>> Andrei probably isn't one who worries about being stalked on dark
>> streets, thus his concept of something being easily usable (once one
>> knows something exists, where to look and is able to find it) isn't
>> typical of the female user who would probably more often need this
>> button (trying to be PC here).
>
> I'm purposefully did not respond to the situation or make value
> judgements on the scenario. I simply pointed out that the steps
> listed by Joan were in fact not accurate. I did this in hope that
> maybe Joan would reassess her scenario and compare apples to apples.
>
> To clarify, if your iPhone is locked (as listed in step #2 of Joan's
> scenario), in the bottom left corner of the passcode screen is a
> button that says "Emergency Call." Taping that button goes directly
> to the iPhone's keypad for making phone calls, where you can type
> 911 and hit the call button. This bypasses all of the steps Joan
> listed in her scenario. Now knowing this, the question becomes (for
> her) I think, whether she still thinks the iPhone is hard to use
> when compared to other phones.
>
> --
> Andrei Herasimchuk
>
> Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
> innovating the digital world
>
> e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
> c. +1 408 306 6422
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help

27 Aug 2009 - 3:00pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Aug 27, 2009, at 12:53 PM, Kevin Silver wrote:

> And you have to have the passcode enabled. You can do this in
> settings>general>passcode lock. It took me a few minutes to figure
> out what Andrei was talking about. I'm a new iPhone owner as well
> and didn't have the passcode screen enabled.

It's been so long since I've had my iPhone, but I thought passcodes
were on by default. I don't remember ever having them disabled. (Nor
would I ever given the amount of personal information I keep on it.)

My apologies if that wasn't clear.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Chief Design Officer, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

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

28 Aug 2009 - 4:07pm
Todd Warfel
2003

Not to downplay the seriousness of the situation, but in looking at
your description of the scenario, it seems like the recollection of
"every other phone" compared to the iPhone is a bit misrepresented.
It's kind of like my wife saying how amazing NYC is and only recalling
the best parts of it and ignoring the smell of urine in the streets
and stench of trash in the mornings.

For instance, you highlighted that the iPhone needs to be woken up
after you've performed the initial action and it falls asleep, but
neglect to mention that every other phone you've had also needs to be
woken up after a particular time has expired. Even your flip phone
will fall asleep at some point and needed to be woken up.

The locking issue has nothing to do with the iPhone, but rather a
setting that you've enabled on the iPhone, which is something you
could have enabled on any previous phone you've owned as well.

Just seems a bit overplayed in that respect.

Now, the criticisms of the other interactions, having to push the Home
button to get out of the last app you were in is a good criticism.

It's pretty easy to argue either way on the 911 app—the fact the
iPhone can have one is an advantage, while the perception/possibility
that it needs one is a disadvantage.

Cheers!

Todd Zaki Warfel
Principal Design Researcher
Messagefirst | Designing Information. Beautifully.
----------------------------------
Contact Info
Voice: (215) 825-7423
Email: todd at messagefirst.com
AIM: twarfel at mac.com
Blog: http://toddwarfel.com
Twitter: zakiwarfel
----------------------------------
In theory, theory and practice are the same.
In practice, they are not.

28 Aug 2009 - 4:23pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Aug 27, 2009, at 10:12 PM, Jarod Tang wrote:

> I'm afraid this will leads designers' work into a trap, if the
> designer really assumes the "tech driven is right".

What is that trap?

> But as a tactic, designer could avoid such fruitless discussion
> ( like, "No, xxx should be user needs/motivation driven instead of
> tech driven" ) , with a user centered driven mind-set in the core,
> and push the product development going. As the result, more than
> less, user centered driven methods will push tech's improvement as
> many designers found, which will convince tech/engineering side co-
> workers.

I think *this* is a trap that is pretty bad. Whatever you considered
"user-centered driven methods" are likely to be expensive. That
expense isn't always justified for the results it will glean.

Understanding when that expense will return value and when it won't is
part of the process of good design management.

Jared

28 Aug 2009 - 7:06pm
jet
2008

Jordan, Courtney wrote:
>People need to make an emergency call in as
> little time as possible - as you said, it can make the difference
> between living to tell this story and not.

And that emergency call could just as easily be a senior who fell down
the stairs in their home or a cyclist who crashed off the side of steep
hill and mangled themselves pretty severely on the way down.

--
J. E. 'jet' Townsend, IDSA
Designer, Fabricator, Hacker
design: www.allartburns.org; hacking: www.flatline.net; HF: KG6ZVQ
PGP: 0xD0D8C2E8 AC9B 0A23 C61A 1B4A 27C5 F799 A681 3C11 D0D8 C2E8

29 Aug 2009 - 4:54am
Ali Naqvi
2008

Hello Jared,
the execution of User Centered Design done the RIGHT way will
guarantee success. Atleast this is what I believe. Many companies do
design great products without a UCS approach, I believe that these
products can improve and become even better with a UCD approach.
You say that people have no problem complaining about a product. That
is simply not true. many books and articles are written about users
just "accepting" the product or service as it is. Allan Cooper
writes about this in "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum", and
tells the reader that users at times don't KNOW that they can
complain. They accpet the product the way it is. They are in this
loop where bad products keep coming and they just accept it.

D. Norman also talks about features in a product that just never are
used. (Part1)

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29 Aug 2009 - 5:00am
Ali Naqvi
2008

Users know that this certain feature can do SOMETHING, yet they dont
know WHAT. So they avoid looking at it and totally block it from
their minds.
trust me, if people started complaining, corporations would be in
trouble. people do NOT complain. Sitting online and writing about a
product defect on a blog won't really make a change. Boycotting the
product and making the corporation aware that YOU ARE SERIOUS is
something users do not do. They "need" the product eventhough some
defect is present.
We simply "give up" and accept the crap design and interaction that
is there.
I am surprised to hear an anti-product design=ethics statement coming
from an IXDA member.
Who are WE to tell a corporation HOW to design a product?? We
obviously became UCDs due to our interest in good product
design/interaction for a reason. (Part 2)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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29 Aug 2009 - 5:05am
Ali Naqvi
2008

The management KNOWS deep down that the product can be better and that
there is "some" problem. They just continue developing problems,
knowing its not the 100 percent correct way. Its human nature. Let us
just continue. We humans only "wake up" when its too late. Take
global warming as an example. We all know that there IS a problem and
we see it daily. Natural disasters happen once in a while..yet we just
continue...we say:
"yeah...I know there is a problem, maybe I should avoid polluting,
YET the next day, we pollute."
If you are an UC Designer its obligatory for you to stress the
importance of users satisfaction. Why else be in the game? (part 3)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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29 Aug 2009 - 6:18pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Aug 29, 2009, at 3:54 AM, Ali Naqvi wrote:

> the execution of User Centered Design done the RIGHT way will
> guarantee success. Atleast this is what I believe.

Hi Ali,

It's a nice belief. A little tautological, but a nice belief none the
less.

However, there's a lot of evidence that suggests its not true.

The biggest problem is that there are too many definitions of "User
Centered Design" and that there's no definition of "User Centered
Design done the RIGHT way." (Can you show me examples of User Centered
Design done the WRONG way?)

From a philosophical point of view, it's what we might call
"motherhood and apple pie" to say that design that takes the user into
account is always going to trump design that doesn't.

However, great user satisfaction is not the only variable in a
product's success. There are many documented instances of great
products that satisfied users from companies that couldn't stay in
business.

> Many companies do
> design great products without a UCS approach, I believe that these
> products can improve and become even better with a UCD approach.

Ok. I'm glad you believe that. I don't share those beliefs.

> If you are an UC Designer its obligatory for you to stress the
> importance of users satisfaction. Why else be in the game?

First, I don't know what a UC Designer is. (One of the fascinating
things about people who are proponents of "user centered design" is
that almost none of what they talk about is "design.")

Second, this isn't an issue of whistleblowing or standing up to
management and telling them they have it all wrong.

A good design is only a good design if it helps the business. There
are many instances where making a design that is more desirable in the
marketplace will be disruptive and significantly help the business.
(Despite the offshoot of this thread, there's no denying that the
iPhone has changed the mobile phone game, delivering record sales and
satisfying many of its customers. The big difference between the
iPhone and competitors from market leaders Motorola, Nokia, LG,
Samsung, and RIM is its design.)

There are also many instances where no amount of good design would
improve the success of the business, either in the short term or the
long term. In those instances, if it harms the company to do so, isn't
it the responsibility of the employee to protect the interests of the
company?

If one wants to be a great designer, one has to learn to assess the
constraints one is working within and understand when one can
creatively design around them and when one has to adhere to them.

But all this philosophy is irrelevant. This thread started because you
were looking for advice.

As David suggested earlier, if you're not happy with the approach your
boss is taking, I'd recommend you find a new position at a company
that appreciates the same values you do. Right now, good designers are
in high demand all over the world. If you believe you're a good
designer, there's no reason to spend time pushing on a string, trying
to explain to your management how they have it all wrong. You will
only become frustrated and won't affect change.

I'd recommend you find a job somewhere that thinks the same way you do.

Jared

29 Aug 2009 - 9:35pm
Ali Naqvi
2008

With regards to iPhone I would say that many users are now complaining
about the phone. IPhone's success is probably due to their amazing
marketing team than the phone's design and functionality. NOKIA had
developed a similar phone but thought that people wouldnt be ready
for such an interaction with the phone. They were "late" in
introducing the phone. What did the Iphone have apart from its
touchscreen and "finger moving" interaction? A 2 MP camera? As far
as I know the 1st model did not even have a movie recorder. If it
fell to the ground it was done over with. My colleague accidentally
dropped it to the ground and the phone was "dead". Apple's
marketing team has made people believe that its THE phone. People
only find out after buying it. Tons of my friends went back to Nokia
or other models after trying Iphone for 6 months.(P 2)

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29 Aug 2009 - 9:37pm
Ali Naqvi
2008

But I do get your point. Reality is different than utopian philosophy.
Tradeoffs are a reality which we designers face daily.
Thanks for your replies!

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29 Aug 2009 - 10:04pm
Dave Malouf
2005

Ali, it is obvious, you really don't know what you are talking about
when it comes to the iPhone. "people are complaining"? huh? people
are still buying them off the shelves, not b/c of marketing but b/c
of the fetished customer base that keeps telling all their friends to
buy them. The problem is that NO SINGLE CONSUMER PRODUCT IS FOR
EVERYONE. This is why there is not a single consumer market where
there is only a single player, except for when monopolistic non-fair
trade practices are in place, or when patents are too strong to
break.

Sooo... the reality is that people aren't being thoughtful in their
advice to others and so people who probably shouldn't be buying the
iPhone are. ME? you I've begun research on how to bring mine to the
afterworld (started on EDGE and now on 3GS). I've been a windows
user most of my adult life (though am happy on my recent acquisition
of a Mac.)

But the point is that amazing design went into this device and in my
previous job at Moto i got to see 1st hand why great companies can't
even come close to emulating it even when we said it was our goal to
try. The culture is preventative (to jared's point).

This isn't about trade-offs. This is about understanding that while
we as interaction designers have one set of roots in the world of
user experience design (UCD/HCI/etc.) we also have deep roots in
design (visual, industrial, etc.) which themselves have evolved to be
more about problem defining/solving and then envisioning those
definitions and solutions visually then about the final forms
themselves. This means that what is most important is figuring out
how to solve the problem that need solving and not about applying a
singe toobox to everything you do. Sometimes you needs a surgeons
toolset and sometimes a dentists and then other times a plumbers! The
point of great design is not to constantly apply the same toolset, but
to figure out which is the right one(s) (gotta allow for hybrids).

I do disagree with Jared. I do think that "design great products"
always includes thoughtfulness of the user in some way. That does not
mean applying standard UCD practice, but it does mean including (not
focusing) the people in our solution set. Of course, you have to
sustain a business, so all those other pieces need to be involved.
But truly successful business (and the bottom line is not the sole
arbiter of success--something that was bothering me in Jared's
posts) does need to be profitable (or at least sustainable--not the
green kind) in order to be a success.

But ali, it does sound like you are still tilting at windmills.

-- dave

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30 Aug 2009 - 5:01am
Ali Naqvi
2008

But I WANT a UCD department at my location. I develop documentation
and to visually describe a system based on heavy technology WITHOUT
user input is disastrous.
The Motorola ZN5 was developed in Denmark by Danish ENGINEERS. I have
that phone. And its the ONLY phone developed by Motorola Denmark. This
is the worst phone made EVER. I know from a source that NO UCD
approach was taken when developing this phone. The usability is
disastrous. The will switch off ANYTIME. Buttons....they are non
existant. I agree with you: Its the corporate culture that is
preventative. It wont allow creative minds WHO DONT hold an engineer
degree to develop and design phones or any other service/product.
That is what my post is all about.

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30 Aug 2009 - 2:47pm
fritzism
2009

As someone who's been strangely drawn to reading the posts around
this topic, very well put Andrew.

To me, much of this comes down the problem you're solving and its
context both of which can suggest a methodology or technique neither
of which can guarantee success and they're countless examples
(Apple, Craigslist, Google, 37 Signals, MySpace, etc.) that have
shown this. We are increasingly moving towards a world where the
ability for products to solve human problems cannot be assured with
one method or school of thought and you have to insure the principles
one is using to guide a design process are malleable enough to adjust
to various environments (and this said as a happy UCD, IxD & UX
koolaid drinker).

My .02 - Fritz

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