Stop Designing for Designers #sxswedu

In LX Perspectives, Opinion by Editorial TeamLeave a Comment

This post was written by Myra Travin, (@m_travin on Twitter) in preparation for our SXSWEdu panel on Tuesday 8 March 2016 in Austin, Texas.

Every great author knows that stories tend to write themselves. This is because characters in fictional stories are unpredictable—they do things that you can’t imagine even when you are the person who created them. Like your children. Like your learners. Always some surprises there.

To see something that you created take on a life of its own is a peculiar and sometimes unsettling thing. But it can and it will happen—if you allow it.

The problem with most UX design (and now LX design) is that we are designing from a designer’s point of view. This viewpoint is an internal one that is for designers by designers, even if the point of the exercise is for users to have a better experience. It is still all about us: our needs, wants, and outcomes. How can we make it easier? How can we make it faster? How can we get users to do things we want them to do?

We’ve created a tremendous number of strategies and tactics to understand the needs and wants of users. To say this is an understatement is a clear and present use of that word: It is an understatement to say that it is an understatement. If only we would really listen. Or see. We continue to create more and more strategies for understanding how people behave instead of doing something simple—change the point of view that we have about designing for better design which is elegant, simple, and refined and move into the chaotic world of having learners design their own environments.

This is why LX is so important to me: It is my wish to see learners for what they really are, to understand and listen to what they really need—to have them direct my work instead of the other way around. I will continue to be buffeted by organizations, schools, and designers who have their own interests, and I am not saying they don’t mean well. I stand for the individual learner. That’s what gets me up every day. Stay tuned for my new LX model: The POV Dependencies Framework.


Leave a Reply

Notify of