Everything around us is designed and people have always been designers without necessarily thinking of themselves as such. Interaction design is not necessarily a different form of design, but it is a theme that emerged to address the recent advancements in information, technology and the way they relate to people. The notion of a product purely as a more or less static physical object shifted to products that have deep connections and dynamic relationships with the user. It was at this time that the behavioral qualities of products, services and environments became more and more important..
The approach to interaction design is more about people than technology and requires deeper understanding of the needs and desires of people. This is an approach that can be applied to pretty much any challenges, from services, business, social changes and ...
The most relevant source of inspiration and considerations when designing things are people! This inspiration can be deeper than understanding what people do, why they do it and what they say they need; It is ultimately about understanding what they really value and what they actually need.
The challenge for a designer is to understand what people see, feel, hear and experience by building empathy with them to uncover those human values. These human values are transformed into the design values with which the design is guided. Empathy is at the heart of design and building empathy with people can be really inspirational and help define the overall experience.
It is unlikely that one designer always has the right insight and can come up with the most innovative ideas. A diverse team that value the collaboration and building on the ideas of each others can take us to a place that we can't get to with one mind. At the same time, the collectives needs individual independence where the team members can take ownership of tasks in order to have an emphasis on action.
I find it often that it helps to be aware that designers do not necessary need to be experts in a given area but are experts in the process of designing things. No ideas happen in a vacuum, so in order to get the best possible outcome for a design project you must involve people who have many different viewpoints and thoughts that allow the cultivation of new, meaningful and practical ideas.
The solutions to today's world problems are not always found in products, but rather in systems or services. Design can effectively be applied to a broader set of system level problems.
When facing challenges, I find it often very helpful to take a step back and reframe the problems and the context. If asked to design a bridge over a river, the answer might be found in reframing the brief into "how to get to the other side of the river" or "do we really need to get to the other side of the river?" By focusing on the systems and understanding the culture and context, design can make a bigger impact; it can be about the bigger project of making things for meaning, social improvements and sustainability.
Technology by itself can be sometimes described as solution looking for problems. The creative challenge for a designer is to better understand people's needs and manipulate what technology offers in order to generate useful applications for them.
We can shape a future where technology is less visible and more integrated, a future that is more aligned with what we need and want as people. Instead of our needs and wants being dictated by technology, we can create a future where technology can be used to amplify our humanness.
Design is more about creating new options rather than making the best choice out of the alternatives. Starting by appropriate ideas would not probably take us that far. Exploring wild and abstract ideas, building on them and taking off the points can help create innovative ideas.
It is actually helpful to go through fuzzy and ambiguous phases, as long as we are confident that chaos can be constructive and wild ideas can be improved build upon by others. It is important for a designer to take the creative risk, get the ideas out, stay engaged with open possibilities, and not being worried about being judged. "Minds are like parachutes they only work when they are open" Thomas Dewar
Design can be a messy process and you can go on forever. It is good to be comfortable with ambiguity as long as we have the ability to move to the concrete. The divergence from abstract to concrete can be a tough process and requires scarification of ideas. Decision making is a key skill for a designer.
Prototyping is a crucial stage of any project in which you get real with ideas and have something tangible to experiment and explore. Ideas locked in sketchbooks are difficult to fully understand until they are released in a useful manner and this is why prototyping is one of the in the most useful ways of thinking. Design is about making things tangible and spending too much time on intellectualizing or theorizing might not really help move forward.
Prototyping allows the concept to be experienced, encourages feedback earlier and lets us fail quickly and safely to succeed sooner. It can also be used to inspire or to validate an idea. There are different tools and solutions for prototyping. Sometimes it is about realising a concept idea quickly by using basic tools and other times means building a high fidelity working prototype that lets people be more engaged with the experience. Prototyping is my thinking realised and forms the most critical part of my working methodology.