Human centred design considered harmful

In the 1990’s, I worked as a programmer and a software developer. Back then, using computer software was quite difficult for the layperson. I moved into the field of interaction design and learned about usability in the 2000’s. It was a revelation: we could no longer blame the user for everything that went wrong with software – the blame now lay squarely with us, the ones who made the software.

The disciplines of usability and interaction design, along with several others, have since evolved into a field we now tend to call User Experience. We follow an approach called Human Centred Design, which involves ‘the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process’.

I have spent nearly a decade and a half working in this field and have always held a strong belief that design should be human centred.

Lately, I have been having some doubts. Let me explain.

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Should UX designers have portfolios?

Person sitting in a cafe with a laptop
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

This point was raised in a recent Slack conversation where we discussed whether UX designers should have portfolios:

When talking about recruiting for UX and asked about portfolios, the speaker said “all that tells me is that you are a UI designer who thinks they know about UX”

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Minimum Viable Product: Build a slice across, instead of one layer at a time

This is my most popular tweet of all time: ‘Minimum Viable Product: Build a slice across, instead of one layer at a time’.

The intention of the diagram is to show an alternative approach to MVP compared to the ‘traditional’ way of building products from the bottom up.

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17 guidelines for better information architecture…from 1991

I recently came across a very interesting book by Kent L. Norman called The Psychology of Menu Selection: Designing Cognitive Control at the Human/Computer Interface. The book focuses on menu selection in computer applications and “provides detailed theoretical and empirical information of interest to software designers and human/computer interaction specialists and researchers.”

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