• User Experience is Everyone’s Responsibility

    I was having a conversation yesterday and mentioned that I occasionally designed mobile phones. The woman I was talking to then proceeded to tell me about the big problem with her phone, that sometimes when she talked, her face hit the buttons and caused the phone to start dialing or beeping and generally disrupting the call. I started to say, “Well, that’s really an industrial design problem…” but caught myself. Maybe it was unavoidable from an ID standpoint. Perhaps they didn’t have the manufacturing budget for better buttons, for instance. Maybe there was something that could be done from the interaction design side, like, say, making it difficult for the pressed keys to do much while a call is in progress.

    Each discipline can only go so far with the constraints they work under, and we have to watch each other’s backs and cover for the flaws of each other. Users don’t care whose fault it is that a product works poorly, only that it works poorly. All the disciplines need work together to figure out solutions to product flaws, with visual, interaction, and industrial design blending their strengths together. The visual design should make the interaction design look good, which in turn makes the industrial design look good, which makes the visual design look good. (Mix up the order as you will.) Focusing on the connective tissue between disciplines makes products holistic.

    This is the essence of experience design.

    There are 8 thoughts on this idea

    1. Livia Labate

      Hey Dan,

      I so share the sentiment. In fact, the very title of this post is how I’ve tried to ‘memefy’ it in my org (Actually, Austin and I talked about just that on http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/straight-from-the). I’m curious if you have thoughts about specific ways to disseminate this sentiment in organizations. It is, after all, more of a cultural stance than anything else – and that sort of shared understanding is not trivial.

    2. Kevin

      Now imagine if more organizations applied that same line of thinking to service design too.

    3. Experience is Everything » User Experience i

      […] flaws, with visual, interaction, and industrial design blending their strengths together. – Dan Saffer May 22, 2008 Link var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : […]

    4. xian

      Hear, hear. My version of trying to memefy it, as Livia put it, is to say “User Experience is Everybody’s Business.” I have a kumbaya-esque talk I give to engineer-ing centric orgs where I preach it, baby.

      I really think it’s true. The buck stops with the designers and developers who touch the materials, but everyone should care and I actually think most people do. Most engineers want the software they’re developing to enable the customer to have a good experience. They may lack the temperamental empathy or the specific training that helps notice and solve more problems but they usually do care and can get behind efforts to improve that they believe in.

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