Cennydd Bowles is a product designer at Twitter and author of the book Undercover User Experience Design.
Also from this author
When you’re starting out in design you hunger to fix all the things. Your imagination and passion are boundless. So what turns a junior designer into a seasoned pro? It’s more than experience—it’s an ability to be in the moment and be a whole person.
Many modern digital products enable complex, emergent behavior, not just pure task completion. We’re building habitats, not just tools; yet we often think of discoverability only in terms of task execution.
We hear it mostly from proud CEOs and recruiters, as a sweet nothing designed to tempt candidates to drop their counter-offers, or a statement in a desperate pitch deck. We’re changing the world! All it takes is a few hundred fearsome intellects and laptops. Are you in or out?
Childish, inaccurate, bizarre, and condescending? Perhaps—but you can’t just ignore articles like that. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic’s Seven Rules for Managing Creative People sets lofty standards for missing the point. At its nadir—“Creatives enjoy making simple things complex, rather than vice versa”—it ranks among the most baffling things ever written about creativity.
Close your eyes and touch your nose. How did you do it? How did you sense where your hand was, and direct it to the right point? You’re not using sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch (except right at the end). Instead, you’re relying on proprioception: the sense of your body’s position in space, and the position of various parts of the body in relation to each other.
User-centered design has served the digital community well. So well, in fact, that I'm worried its dominance may actually be limiting our field. The terms “user experience design” (UX) and “user-centered design” (UCD) are often used interchangeably. But there's an important distinction.
Agile development was made for tough economic times, but does not fit comfortably into the research-heavy, iteration-focused process designers trust to deliver user- and brand-based sites. How can we update our thinking and methods to take advantage of what agile offers?