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#41 - Design Thinking I - Intro

Sent the February 16th
Author face
Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

Writing of the week

I don't want to start commenting on what the Design Thinking process is or what it breaks down into, as my first objective is to place you at the beginning of the 20th century, where designers and artists appeared who were quite innovative in their way of working, their way of thinking and how they avoided the typical chain design process, waterfall.

Before commenting on this, let's look at the definition of Tim Brown, president and CEO of IDEO.

"Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success".

Many media and articles say that it is a methodology that has recently appeared and is booming, when it is not. Charles Eames, designer, born in 1907 together with his wife Ray Eames, painter, born 5 years later, were a couple who took several principles of user needs into their design of the Eames Lounge Chair by putting Learning by Doing into practice.

For those who don't know what Learn by Doing is, it is an empirical approach by philosopher John Dewey, where "learners" must interact with the product to adapt it and learn from these interactions. Does this sound like incremental iterations of design?

Jean Muir, a 1960s dressmaker, was also well known for her obsession with comfort and how her garments looked on different somatotypes. Can we already be talking about a principle of universal design, equitable design?

Already in the middle of the century, a mature Dieter Rams in 1970, defined what is known today as The ten principles of good design, one of these being:

"Makes a product understandable - It clarifies the product's structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user's intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory".

How can we create an understandable product? How can we make it intuitive? How can we make it self-explanatory? How can we match the user's mental model with the intention of the product's functionality?

Articles & Ideas

Dangerous UX: Consequential Options Close to Benign Options

Confirmatory and destructive actions should be far apart from each other; use additional redundant visual signals to differentiate between them and avoid user errors. Page Laubheimer

Designing language selectors that work well with assistive technology

In Part I, besides addressing some interesting problems with the usage of flags and language abbreviations, I also write about how to improve the discoverability of your language selector. Since publishing Part I, many of you asked for my advice on what to do in some tricky situations. Zsolt Szilvai

The State of User Research 2021 Report

We surveyed 525 user researchers in 44 countries to bring you the third annual State of User Research report. Katryna Balboni

Internal vs. External Validity of UX Studies

Poorly designed qualitative or quantitative research may produce invalid results. Avoid encouraging certain responses or behaviors and make sure that your study conditions and participants are representative. Raluca Budiu

Interaction design is more than just user flows and clicks

In general, you should be good at all three, but master two. Most designers can teach themselves visual design and product thinking through online resources, practice, and shipping real products. Richard Yang

Things I wish UX candidates would ask me during interviews

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been leading the recruitment efforts for a Senior Product Designer at the startup I work for. I’ll skip this time the part of lecturing about how your CV and portfolio should look like (and how should not)… Nati Asher

How I programmatically built 256 new design system components in Figma

Uber’s Base design system offers a set of map marker components that are used extensively across our products, displayed any time we feature a map to the user. We’ve recently come across the need to showcase additional context on the map markers and settled on adding badges — an existing Base component — to achieve that. Dylan Babbs

How to use design pairing to gain crucial context

Throughout my career, I’d believed that teams had to be in the same room to be effective and efficient. I was sure that co-location was crucial for a team to gather and share context, empowering them to make decisions quickly. Eduardo Mujica


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