Every designer has had the experience at one point or another of having someone (usually a Product Manager, sometimes an Engineer) draw a screen for them, and ask them to take it and make it look good. Tools like Balsamiq and Axure are only making this more common. Writers, Product Managers and Engineers -- pretty much everyone with a boss or a coworker has experienced someone coming to them and assuming they were the end of the important process and just needed a little polish.
This happens for one (or many) of several reasons:
- They don't have time to think about or discuss alternatives
- They think it's the best solution
- They don't know how to connect the picture that's in their head with the goals they have in mind (or if they connect).
- They think you have little to offer besides making tarting up their idea ("Make it sparkly")
Too often, Designers assume point #4, get insulted, but sparkle-ize it anyway. It's demoralizing and often results in sub-par products (they are at least not as good as they could be). This happens in other contexts too: Researchers tell Product Managers how they should change their products. Designers tell Engineers how they should implement what's designed. Most of us are guilty of assuming #4 at some point, whatever our roll is.
This talk is about how to "reverse out" design thinking. How to look at a napkin drawing and work with the person who drew it to understand what their goals were when they made it, and to propose alternative solutions.
Conversely, if you think in solutions and can't help handing scribbles on napkins to your colleagues, it's about how to back out your own thought process and get more and better contributions from your colleagues.
Either way, it's about better solutions.
(Related blog post at http://www.designmap.com/practice/sparkle-ize-it/)