A note from the editors: We’re pleased to share an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Dan Brown's new book, Practical Design Discovery, available now from A Book Apart.
One of the hardest design problems I ever worked on was for a company that helps IT groups manage risk. Their product focused on open-source components—inexpensive and widely supported by an enormous community, but often vulnerable to security flaws.
We run our client service businesses just like door-to-door salespeople hawking vacuum cleaners. That may seem unfair, but it’s exactly how we sell design. We’re focused on short-term wins—but we’re teaching clients to see our work as disposable.
I want to believe we’re better than that.
The web is not the traditional home of data visualization. You might come across a bar chart here or there in your online journey on any given day, but they’ve never been an artifact of web history. It seems like that’s been changing.
With the world becoming increasingly data-driven, we’re seeing more and more visualizations make their way onto our web pages and into our design briefs. They help us tell stories that better engage our users, and can even get them to take some kind of meaningful action.
We have no excuse…admit it. UX may brag about intuitive and pretty, but we sure suck at helping people—this one thing that most defines, most embodies great user experience.
Throughout history, there’s one recurring theme: people need help. For all we know, the need for assistance might have triggered the development of communication. It could have led to bonding among tribes and our existence today. In the future, it might be the only thing that staves off human extinction and promotes societal evolution.
Good intentions usually drive the “gamification” of websites—adding points, badges, and leaderboards to make them more engaging. It sounds like a great idea, but borrowing game design elements out of context is a risky way to design experiences, especially experiences intended to bring users back to a site.