Design Philosophy

Unlike lawyers, designers generally have express design philosophies. This is my user experience design philosophy.

Find the Moving Parts

A mentor of mine who happened to be a federal judge once told me, "No matter how complicated it may be, every case comes down to a small number of moving parts." As with lawsuits, so also with design problems: even the largest doors still swing on hinges. As a designer, my first task is to find the moving parts. Only by finding the true causes of a UX problem can a designer understand what it takes to fashion a solution.

Definitions Matter

Many UX problems have communication gaps at their core. Whatever may be its philosophical or empirical merits, the theory of linguisitc relativity holds true in design: what people call a thing influences how they think about it. Therefore, an essential predicate for an effective design solution is to establish a common, shared vocabulary amongst stakeholders. In some instances, the solution to a UX problem becomes obvious once stakeholers can accurately communicate about it.

Most Advanced, Yet Acceptable

Raymond Loewy wrote that while designers always want to push the most advanced solution that they can create, stakeholders are rarely willing to accept it. Therefore, the designer should aim for the "most advanced, yet acceptable" (or "MAYA") solution. See Raymond Loewy, Never Leave Well Enough Alone 277-78 (2002 ed.) The MAYA point is a delicate balance, and a UX designer must be an astute student of stakeholders' culture to locate it.

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