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#42 - Design Thinking II - Wicked Problems & 1970s

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Juan Jesús Millo

Wicked problems in design thinking

This is the continuation of part one, Design Thinking I - Intro

Horst Rittal, design theorist, in the mid-1960s coined a term that is nowadays mostly used in development, rather than in design ironically, which are Wicked Problems.

A Wicked Problem is nothing more than an extremely complex problem, very difficult to solve or with several layers or dimensions that form a pretty fucked up problem.

It was Horst Rittal himself, who on the basis of the different methods that exist within design, saw in these the ability to solve these problems, since a very important point of these is that collaboration is everything, we should not limit ourselves to a single point of view, but to a whole, a multidisciplinary team that is able to see the different edges of the problem and attack them one by one, polishing the diamond that was hidden.

Herbert A. Simon was an economist and cognitive scientist, who in 1969 already mentioned design as a science and as a form of objective critical thinking in his book Sciences of the Artificial.

Design Thinking Process in the 1970s

In the 70s he placed great emphasis on rapid prototyping, iterating and observing the behaviour of users, with the aim of maximising the learning obtained in each of these cycles, this being one of the main phases of the current standard Design Thinking process as well as the basis of iterative design.

If you are interested, he has very relevant articles, as he devoted a large part of his life to the study of rational decision-making, and how we create a totally encapsulated framework in our head, where we study all the possible alternatives and which of them is our preferred one based on a limited number (by knowledge) of consequences and variables.

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Writing an Effective Guide for a UX Interview

Preparing a guide for a user interview ensures that topics relevant to your research questions are covered, and that the interview captures in-depth information about people’s lives and needs. Maria Rosala

Always Persist Users’ Search Queries (37% Don’t)

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A 4-step process for testing the accessibility of your designs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of the world’s population lives with some form of disability and it can be apparent or non-evident. If designers are serious about designing for inclusivity, then accessibility (a11y) shouldn’t just be a last item on their QA checklist, but a part of every design decision. Justine Win

Dynamic Design Tokens

One of our newest revelations is that tokens aren't static. What does that mean? Today, most people would simplify design tokens by describing them as a key-value pair. A name and a value. However, we created a way for a single design token to have multiple values. Mike Carbone

How to Handle Dominating Participants in UX Workshops: 3 Tactics

Facilitators can use 3 ascending levels of intervention tactics to maintain positive momentum in groups with participants who monopolize activities and limit diversity of perspectives. Kate Kaplan

Things To Expect From A Smashing Workshop: Form Design Masterclass

A couple of weeks ago, we organized a Form Design Masterclass, an online workshop with Adam Silver alongside 81 friendly and smart people. Today, Adam shares his experience and details by highlighting what you as an attendee can expect from a Smashing Workshop, and things to keep in mind when running one. Adam Silver

Nine words to watch for when writing survey questions

In UX research, both studies and surveys contain a lot of questions. Getting those questions right can go a long way in improving the clarity and quality of the findings. For example, we’ve recently written about how to make survey questions clearer. Jeff Sauro, PhD and Jim Lewis, PhD


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