Nice people make nice designs

Like the name of the post suggests. It’s just a belief that I have had since I was introduced to terms like HCI, Usability, User Focus, User Experience Design etc etc etc. When I read and learnt more about these thing to start applying them to my work, I felt I was becoming sensitive to the idea in various aspects of my life.  The way you drive on the road, the way you treat strangers around you, the way you are sensitive to the needs of other people.

I remember standing on the Delhi Metro platform a number of times, getting pushed and jostled around, having people thrust their smelly armpits towards me, people looking away when they see an elderly/pregnant person standing so they wouldn’t have to give away their seats .. and I remember thinking, now this guy could never make a user friendly design. They are just not friendly to the people around them.

Or when you’re driving on the road. God knows all those blessed with vehicles have also been blessed with rear view mirrors in the same. And we can safely assume (hopefully) that they are trained to follow traffic rules. But when people drive with their lights on high beams, drive at full speed in residential areas, swerve without looking in the rear view and think they own the road. These guys probably can never make a user friendly design.

I own a Hyundai i20 and though a few acquaintances have had a bad experience with theirs, I find the car a delight to use. The entire experience is focused towards the comfort and convenience of the driver and I simply love driving it. Now the people who designed this car – Nice people! 🙂

This is perhaps just an inherent belief. Maybe one that I have cultivated over a few years now, all through observation – of myself and others. Maybe I am just shooting a baseless arrow in the dark here. But I truly believe usability touches (or should touch)  all aspects in our lives. Especially for those who design for usability. Life around us is a wonderful training ground. Which is why I say nice designs are made by people who are nice … or get trained to be nice 🙂

[Disclaimer: The author of this post by no means wants to imply that she is a nice person or that she makes nice designs. But she assures you that she knows nice people who make fantastic designs :-)]

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Have fun while you work!

One could be loaded up with snazzy design tools and have a pile of analytical information but you can still not design well unless you’re creative. I have seen the most technical people coming up with the most creative solutions. Surrounded by them infact!. They stump me and leave me dumb-founded and wondering “why didnt I think of that!”

Design is not just about aesthetics – Its about being present in the moment, tossing and tumbling all the information in your head to come up with the most simple solutions. Sometimes its just about experimenting. Gotta have fun, loosen up and play around with your work. 🙂

Some of the things that can help us be creative –

1. Be aware of your surroundings, circumstances and situations. Keep your eyes and ears open and your mind tuned. You never know when you will be struck with that spark of genius.

2. Everyday is a learning process. Learn from everything you do and everyone around you. (Yeah, do keep your ego out of it).

3. Talk to people, ask questions, talk to yourself (just don’t look like a fool), draw – keep pen and paper handy and don’t be afraid to doodle 🙂

4. Iterate, iterate, iterate – Make a mess, clean it up. Learn the hard way – It’s more fun that way 🙂

And while you’re at it, read this article too –

Can Design Thinking Solve Your Problems and Make You Happier?