In looking at Chapter Six of The Design of Everyday Things we begin to talk about the issues with being the designer.
One of the topics discussed is how the designer thinks that they are still a regular person and are designing based on what people want. However in reality the designer has been attached to the product and project so long they are an expert at using it and do not see the design flaws that are there.
“Designers have become so proficient with the product that they no longer perceive or understand the areas that are apt to cause difficulties.” (Norman, p.156)
This is something that I ran into at work recently while working with a designer and co-workers in building a community for our website. Some of the things my co-workers were talking when looking at the community was using language that would be unfamiliar to most new users. Not only that but the navigation that was mapped out also didn’t make logical sense when compared to other communities and how they operated. While they made sense to us because we were familiar to the product powering the community and had been immersed in the community every day when we had outside eyes look at it the reaction was not as we had hoped.
We had to remove ourselves from the language and the layout and look at other sites. Our assumptions and nomenclature had to be dropped with a different attitude and approach to how we were going to do things. I can’t even begin to explain how difficult it was to change our mindsets and try to cut our attachments to the project.
While we made some changes I expect that when we get our beta release out that people will begin to comment about the issues that they have. Things that aren’t even on our radar presently that will help benefit our community design, I both look forward to and dread that day.
As the designer you are always the expert and never really unattached.