Work, writing

Problem solving

There’s some discussion around the office, mostly among Interaction Designers, about the “Invisible User Interface.” Here’s an excerpt from The Best Interface is No Interface by Golden Krishna on The Verge. I readily agreed with almost everything he says …until reading the article that I share below.

As a criticism to our obsession with apps and interfaces (I’m certainly guilty), I think his point of view is refreshing. It strikes at something that should be discussed. Golden Krishna identifies a symptom of lazy design, and dare I say, kowtowing to less-than-savvy clients that are prepared to give you $1M to design an app.

An honest scenario

Some institution or company comes to a design agency with a problem.
Usually it boils down to a basic problem: We need more people to sign up for our service, or we want people to use our service more, and the classic we want people to buy our things instead of our competitors’.

The design agency has been designing apps and websites for years. The fact that a business even approaches a design agency implies that the business owner or otherwise important stakeholder has a solution in mind: an app, a web site, an interface.

The design agency will “take a step back”, carefully rephrase the business problem to their client. They’ll brainstorm and consider many solutions. At the end of the day, the unspoken understanding is that the design agency knows how to make apps and websites, and the business person came to the agency because that’s what they want.

Long story short, both parties end up jumping to the conclusion that an interface is the solution to the problem.

Slow down.

Designers are problem solvers.
You might have a title like visual designer, graphic designer, experience designer, interface designer, interaction designer… and that first word in your title pushes you to keep making the sort of things you always make. My greatest personal and professional challenge is to acknowledge the second word of these (often silly) titles. Living up to being a Designer means considering everything, and not jumping to the familiar toolbox to fix or improve something.

Side-note: This is why I was so enamored by Service Design that Fjord champions. Unfortunately, it’s less tangible and must be difficult to sell, because this type of thinking is still in the minority of their portfolio.

The point.

I meant to just drop a link in here and sprinkle in a pull-quote from an article that I liked. I’m eager to explore where I really stand between the ideas of Invisible Interface and seamfull experiences, but I’m still quite fresh on the topic. For now, here’s the link I came here to share:

No to NoUI – Timo Arnall

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