“StrengthsFinder 2.0” by Tom Rath
part of our current project is sell to our design and process to a client. after going through the process myself and watching my classmates presentations, i think this is my biggest takeaway:
it’s not about you, your process, or your design. it’s about them.
it’s natural to want to organize the presentation and information in a way that makes sense to you–but we should be organizing it in a way that makes sense to them. avoid designer-y jargon. avoid framing the narrative in terms of process and try framing it in terms of their budget and timeframe. have confidence in yourself as the design expert and make clear what you want from them as the experts in their business. presenting is like another exercise in designing an experience–we empathize with our users, let’s also empathize with our audience.
a couple years ago, i attended courses at the Summer Institute of Graphic Design at RISD. it was an intense 6 weeks characterized by many frustrating late late nights and early early mornings, but ultimately by enormous gains in my abilities. near the end i found this quote by ira glass on a bulletin board and it summed up so much of my experience. now i am in week 3 at GA and i am feeling the relevance (and comfort) of this quote again.
What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me … is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work… It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
we are starting to develop our prototypes and, thus, thinking about content. “Myth #19: You don’t need content to design a website” sums it up. words matter. good writing is good design.
learned about user testing our paper prototypes today. watched this great video (that also happens to be super cute.)
some questions he uses in the video:
- what do you think about this website? why?
- what do you think you can do from here?
- what would you do if you were trying to [give open ended task]?
- is this what you expected to happen?
- can you show me how you would do that?
i think about my mental model for my design process because it is anything but a linear checklist with clear, clean endpoints. its messy. recently i have been finding it helpful to think about my process in terms of layers that i zoom in and zoom out of.
andy polaine talks about this in his book on service design: “the practice of service design involves repeatedly zooming in and out between material and digital detail, and the big picture. Grand narratives or visions describing a service experience or value proposition are necessary. But so, too, are repeated attempts to describe the granular details…a service design approach requires moving to and fro between each of these, rather than leaving mundane detail until later in a development process as if it’s not so important.”
the hard part isn’t operating in different states–it’s in the transition and knowing when to be zooming in and when to be zooming out.
to borrow a quote from yoga “do your practice and all is coming.” i will keep showing up every day to embrace the struggle and refine my practice.