1 episode

Design Workbench demystifies designing for relevant, meaningful experiences, one concept at a time. In each episode, I share concepts in design research, thinking, and making for experience design so listeners can apply them to their work to improve product and service experiences.

Design Workbench Dennis Cheatham

    • Arts

Design Workbench demystifies designing for relevant, meaningful experiences, one concept at a time. In each episode, I share concepts in design research, thinking, and making for experience design so listeners can apply them to their work to improve product and service experiences.

    People-Driven Design

    People-Driven Design

    Episode Transcript



    People-driven design. Why is human-centered design not enough? Now on design workbench.



    This is design workbench and I am Dennis Cheatham, a design educator, and researcher at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I am also the graduate director of xdMFA, the MFA in Experience Design here at Miami.



    In this podcast, I demystify concepts within design, research, design, thinking, and design making, all in service of experience design, which is a holistic approach to designing that considers the whole person and endeavors to create products, services, and systems, that create experiences people want to repeat. This idea of experience design holds that people will choose a product service or system, not because it helps them do something, but because the experience that it produces for them is the differentiating factor. To design for experiences, designers must go beyond being experts at color, usability, or button sizes. Rather, they must be expert researchers and expert makers that consider people's entire experiences.



    So that's enough about experience design. For now, I'm not going to do this every show, I promise, let's get into our topic.



    The words we use can drastically impact our understanding of the world around us, including design, what's in a name after all? Well, in this episode, I'm talking about three different approaches to design, human-centered design, activity-centered design, and people-driven design.



    Human-Centered Design is about how it sounds, it places a human at the center of the design process, they are the whole reason why we design best we can tell human-centered design gained popularity as a term in the 1960s, where designers began considering who is the person we're designing for, what is their makeup? And when we consider that makeup, like the size of their hands when they're using a mixer to make pudding or a cake, then how can we make that design to best match their dimensions? Human-Centered Design also expands into empathy. What are people feeling? What are their needs, when we consider their life situation, and other aspects like that.



    Human-Centered Design places the human as the driver for design. Now, designers sometimes make design because it's something cool or something they want to make. You may even have an example of this, where you've designed a poster or an app or a service. And I thought—this is gonna be really cool. And I'm so excited to use this typeface. And these colors are going to be amazing. That's a little bit more like designer-centered design, and maybe not human-centered design. Notice how the words reframe your thinking about who the design is for and what it's trying to do. When we use different words, it focuses our minds on what we're designing and why we're designing. And the outcomes can be drastically different when we use different words.



    Activity-centered design is an idea that when people use design, they don't necessarily think I want to use a chair or I'm excited about doing this service for voting. They're really trying to do something, there's an activity they're trying to complete. So when someone uses a chair, they're not thinking, I want a chair, they're thinking I want to sit, the activity is sitting. Now granted, not all sitting activities are the same. Sometimes I can sit down in a really cushy chair and I'm thinking I want to sit here for a long time and I want to relax. That's the kind of sitting activity I'm interested in so I can read a book. There are other sitting times for example on a stool when I want to sit for a short amount of time and then I need to move on. In both of these cases, the activity is sitting, I want to sit.



    So, activity-centered design focuses us on the fact that people use design to do stuff, they want to complete activities. Notice how that kind of framing may drastically impact how we create? If I do design research, and I learn about a person and the activity they're try

    • 12 min

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