Excellent read over at Medium by @jamescaig about what makes a strategist. I love this line of thinking: stripping away jargon and hubris and just working towards making things simple. I absolutely try to do this whenever possible. It’s definitely not always easy.
“We research problems until we know them inside out. We are rigorous, curious, and open-minded. We want to know why. We ask questions, formulate hypotheses. We seek different sources and counter-arguments. We reconcile and understand.
But understanding something is only the start. We then need to communicate to others: creatives, clients, people. That means resisting the temptation to share the full complexity of what we (think we) know. Quantity of output doesn’t equate with quality of thinking. It may dazzle people, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.”
Thinking strategically is not unlike working towards good design: it’s hard work to say very little.
Read the whole piece at Medium.
“Well, not quite. What’s actually happening, according to friends at agencies, is that client’s willingness to buy design from agencies is decreasing, and project budgets have been shrinking. And the prevailing theory is that this is happening because companies are building in-house teams, and that’s where their ‘design budgets’ are going. Whereas in the past, a company might spend 20% of a design budget internally and 80% externally, that’s now swapped.”
More thoughts on where design agencies are headed by Peter.
“…the joy from an unusual experience fades quickly, but the sting of not fitting in because we didn’t share an experience with our peers—even a crappy one—lingers.”
–Olga Khazan for The Atlantic
“Some of the most important decisions UX designers make are those they don’t even think about. It’s generally understood that creating an intuitive interface is important, but few people are really good at articulating what makes an interface intuitive. This is where the concepts cognitive load and cognitive barriers play a huge role.”
“From the perspective of the autistic child, the world appears to be a ‘magical’ rather than an orderly place, because events seem to occur randomly and unpredictably. In this view, autism symptoms such as repetitive behavior, and an insistence on a highly structured environment, are coping strategies to help deal with this unpredictable world…”
“If you write software that enables harassment and stalking, or makes it difficult for users to protect their personal information, you’re disproportionately driving women off of your platform or making them do extra work. Respecting user’s privacy and emphasizing consent in software design is fundamentally an issue of equality — not just gender, but across the board.” –Kat, “Ways Men in Tech are Unintentionally Sexist”
Her entire piece should be required reading, but that piece in particular really grabbed me when Joel pointed to it.
When most of us design a User Interface, and fail at basic usability, the worst that happens is that our product fails. Yet, when the designers of this system, or even an airplane’s cockpit, fail at their design, there are real physical harms. With so much on the line, you would think these industries would have hired the best designers in the world to carefully craft the User Experience. But they don’t.