The traditional sense of human centered design simplifies the relationship between man and technology. It is time to use a more detailed classification and method to describe it.
In a recent Fast Company article, renowned human-computer interaction expert Donald Norman said that most of the original technologies had designs that didn’t match, making our lives more complex and challenging. Many of the arguments and descriptions in this article are very delicate, but the premises mentioned in this article are questionable to me.
The inaccurate description of the relationship between human beings, that is, ourselves, and technology, may actually lead to more problems in subsequent designs.
In this article, Donald Norman says, “We accidentally accept the assumption that technology comes first (and we need to accept it). In other words, we have too much respect for the new technology itself, and not enough understanding for the user when designing. On the surface, this perspective is natural, but if you think about it carefully, you’ll find that this assumption hides a hypothesis: people’s needs must in a sense be pure and unaffected by the outside world, and designers need to be fully aware of this in their design, and the needle Design the technology accordingly. Sounds like it’s okay: new technologies emerge (with imperfect designs) – people accept them – imperfect designs lead to life being affected – Technical and design improvements – iterations.
However, people’s desires and needs never appear in vain. Over the years, people and technology have never been one-way influence, mutual influence and shaping has never been isolated, so the above one-way process is wrong, it is a continuous impact and interaction in real life. Combination process, it is not a line, but a network, each point on the network, belongs to multiple lines, has a variety of attributes and identity.
People accumulate experience with technology, and technology is shaped as people expect it to change. That’s why, for example, on our desktop PC, the functionality and interface of software are influenced by the design of everyday office items, such as folders (file systems), trash cans (recycling bins), and notebooks (notebooks). More importantly, the multi-functional smart handheld devices that each of us has in our hands today are still called mobile phones (Phones), but their real functionality has long gone beyond the traditional sense of the phone.
Mutual shaping between technology and human beings
Use a more popular example to illustrate this truth.
Engine driven by fossil fuels. We usually say that the engine of a car emits high heat and noise after it is started. For many people, these temperature and audio characteristics of the car have become part of its recognition. We have learned to link the roar of engines with the concept of powerful power. Noisy engine sounds, whether they were born or are not now “user-centered design,” have nothing to do with this concept, because when they were invented, no user would have wanted to have a noisy engine device? However, the images and ideas it shapes have been gradually shaped in people’s hearts, many people began to look forward to it, and even some people hope that it must exist.
There is a “giving and receiving” relationship between human beings and technology, which is intertwined and influenced by each other. The most beautiful and exciting cars are not purely for the user’s sake, and many of the best design concepts in automotive design are by-products of technology itself. There is no doubt that electric vehicles, which are becoming more and more popular nowadays, are also subtly changing the concept of quality cars.
A good design must take into account the needs and desires of the user, but ultimately everything, including the product, must be implemented at the technical boundary. Many great products even create the expected boundaries for users directly. For a car, the roar of the engine is equivalent to power; for a cell phone, lightness is equivalent to advanced. All these concepts are not the original expectations of the users themselves. The user’s ideal experience comes from his technical experience.
But designers assume that users need some new technology, but in fact, the information they get from research often leaves the design in a quagmire – a faster four-wheeled carriage is a typical example, because for those who used to travel, the means of transportation was a carriage.
On the other hand, when we create cars, we refer to the four-wheeled structure of the carriage, the keyboard of the typewriter when we design the computer keyboard, and the basic function of the handheld smart device we are using is still to make phone calls, so it is also called the mobile phone. The difference between them is that a large number of constantly evolving, constantly shaping people are also shaping the technology and function.
In the center of human beings, there should be more rich connotation and extension
Now, we should think more deeply about the human-centered design concept, which is not a simple “design around the needs of users” design point of view. Designers get better design requirements through a variety of different ways, but real people are complex, most of the requirements are complex and changeable, abstracted requirements, often showing an overly simplified appearance, such needs cover up the profound changes themselves.
The relationship between us and technology is getting closer and closer. We use mobile phones every day and every minute. We connect all kinds of services through the network. The knowledge we get comes from all corners of the world. Our online interactions create a network of identity and roles that change rapidly with the online world, but offline real roles remain primitive. The existence of technology has contributed to this identity fragmentation, and we have become much more complex ourselves than before. At the same time, how do we define our self-awareness? It’s not easy.
As a designer, the word “people-centered” is easy to say, but even if one of the words “people”, the connotation and extension of the word, every moment in the complex, where you can not see alienation. If the definition of “human” itself is abstract and simple, how can products and designs be made right?
We are human beings, and we have a close and complex relationship with technology. And this kind of relationship, all the time is quietly changing our definition of ourselves. And new technology and new design, also must be built on this basis will be reasonable, play a role. In the same way, we are also very eager for the experience driven by technology.
From this point of view, technology is inseparable from the concept of who we are and what we want.