Data-Driven Design User-Centered Design Systems
Design Activity-Centered Design Genius Design Focus is on the skill and wisdom of the designer. Users are a source of validation (often via usability testing). Designer is the source of inspiration.
No matter how many users
you talk to, no matter how much data you collect, at the end of the day, a human has to decide.
User Input + Designer =
Design Input can come AFTER the product is out, of course. And that input can be disastrous.
No amount of data analysis
can make up for a lack of talent. Jeffrey Zeldman Takes the talent of the designer to determine what the results of a UCD process should be.
Users (and their data) should
be there to inform designers, not substitute for them. The purpose of UCD should be to bolster, enlighten, or conﬁrm designer’s judgement.
Many people suggest that "you
guys should optimize the UI to match the feature usage data." ...The only problem? We've already designed that product, and it's called Office 2003. Jensen Harris on Office 2007
Just as one example, with
small sample sizes (which is usually what you’re working with with UCD), you can prove just about anything. Blue cars get hit by rocks more often than other cars, therefore we should never paint our cars blue.
Activity-centered Design • Good for
intense, focused, complex activities • Reﬁning task ﬂows • Making actions more efﬁcient • Not good for big picture rethinking • Can de-skill users
Data-driven Design • Good for
existing designs • Incremental improvements • Fine tuning of a design • Not good at all for big picture rethinking • Mind numbingly tedious • Can end up with a real dog’s breakfast
Systems Design • Good for
large-scale designs • Systems of Systems • Models for large teams • Not good for small projects • Very analytical
Genius Design • Good for
rapid projects • Possible to get a “purer” vision and more radical jumps in products • Flexible • Not good for inexperienced designers • Need domain knowledge • Can be very, very wrong
User-centered Design • Understand unfamiliar
domains • Empathy with users—focus on people • Can catch problems (and opportunities) up front • Hard for people to evaluate (and generate) new product ideas—Ford’s “Faster Horse” analogy • Are you focused on the RIGHT users? • User goals can be slippery • Does it scale?
The trick is to determine
what approach works best for the project you’re on...even for just part of the project. Honest appraisal of your own skills, what’s the problem is (do you understand the users for instance?)