One of the wisest pieces of design advice I have heard is that user centered design is not about letting the user design the system. It should focus on finding out your user’s pain points and needs and workarounds and preferences. Then have skilled HF and UX designers turn that wealth of information into a design.
But there are also valid exceptions to this principle, especially when the user is a professional designer. In the cited article here today, the designer rides the Manhattan subway and was not satisfied with the wayfinding signage. As with a lot of transportation signage, it was confusing. So he developed his own. I don’t think he asked permission first, so this is a fun example of guerrilla design.
“The whole idea is to provide information in a very simple way,” says Ryan Murphy, an industrial design student at Rhode Island School of Design. “When Massimo Vignelli designed the subway signs in the 1970s, one of the intentions was that you get the exact information you need when you need it. But if you actually navigate the subway every day in New York, you realize that doesn’t always happen.”
- I am interested in your thoughts on a few levels here.
- Do you agree with the essence of the principle that I started out with?
- Do you like the idea of a passenger taking the problem into his own hands and implementing the solution?
- Do you like his solution?
Image Credit: alexandria