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Journey To The Center Of Design

by on Apr 12, 2008


Keynote: Journey to the Center of Design ...

Keynote: Journey to the Center of Design
(I gave this at the IA Summit in 2008 and SxSW in 2009. The recording is from the IA Summit.)

Jared Spool

Saturday April 12 2008, 8:30 - 10:00AM

User-centered design was born in the 1980s, amidst a world filled with frustration with blinking VCR clocks and computer command lines. Up until this time, developers focused on making the devices work, giving little heed to how they'd be used. Terms like "user friendly" and "easy to use," buzzwords for the UCD movement, soon became as common as "new and improved" on laundry soap.

Fast forward 25 years and it now seems the foundations of user- centered design are now disintegrating. Notable community members are suggesting UCD practice is burdensome and returns little value. There's a growing sentiment that spending limited resources on user research takes away from essential design activities. Previously fundamental techniques, such as usability testing and persona development, are now regularly under attack. And let's not forget that today's shining stars, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the iPod, came to their success without UCD practices.

Is it time for user-centered design to evolve into something else? Or is there something else happening in our world of experience design that makes UCD obsolete? Should something else occupy the center of design?

These are just the questions that this year's keynote presenter, Jared Spool, likes to answer. Especially after a few drinks. And while a Saturday morning keynote may seem early for the kind of heavy drinking these particular questions demand, Jared will have just arrived from Italy, a nation with a long tradition of philosophical intoxication. This will set the perfect stage for an entertaining and insightful presentation to open our conference.

We guarantee a journey that shouldn't be missed.



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18 of 8 previous next Post a comment

  • harrypotter12 harrypotter12 Excellent and very helpful. Great slide.

    Thanks for sharing.
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    2 years ago
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  • jordisan jordisan RamSys, Usability - UX research - interaction design My question is: Is there such thing as User Centered Design?


    What do you think?
    2 years ago
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  • voleary Valeska O'Leary, Director, User Experience at Azigo The audio is perfect. It's just so great to be able to listening to your preso again, and share with other who were not there. Thanks to all who made it possible. Best, Valeska 6 years ago
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  • jmspool Jared Spool Audio is now here. Bad news is that there was a glitch and the recording is not very good. But, it's intelligible in most places, so I went ahead and synched it up.

    If I ever do this talk again, I'll try to get a better recording...
    6 years ago
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  • NathanaelB Nathanael Boehm, User Experience (UX) Designer at Telogis I think it'd be much better with the audio ... I'll wait :-) 6 years ago
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  • jmspool Jared Spool Audio is coming! Stay tuned. 6 years ago
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  • caronne Caronne Carruthers-Taylor, User Experience freelance consultant at Holistic Focus This is just good UCD and UX methodology rebranded as Activity-Centred Design. In my work, I focus on the overall UX and process/environment, including activities & tasks in the context of the organisational and user goals. I note that Don Norman previously argued a similar perspective in 2004 (www.jnd.org/dn.mss/hcd_harmful_a_clari. html). So, it's not a new concept but it seems convenient for Mr Spool to be sensationalist. While I agree that strict processes and methodology are not ideal, why not seek to improve UCD and UX-focussed design & development. It's a hard enough battle without this sort of commentary. 6 years ago
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  • NLC_Molly Molly Anglin, Web Strategist and Lead Information Architect: Business Performance Group at non-linear creations What a thought provoking and engaging presentation! I enjoyed every minute. Note to other viewers... you really have to listen to the podcast.

    I've posted a little summary and review of the speech here:


    6 years ago
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