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Why Design Fails?

When was the last time you pushed a “pull” door?

Let’s kick off with a laugh and some visual stimulation!

Right?! So why does this happen?

To answer this, let me share a personal anecdote.

Back in 2011, I was a young college student sitting in a chemistry midterm when I came across this question:

What freaked me out was option C. Rocky Road.I’m assuming if you grew up in the U.S. your mind went straight to ice cream. For me, I did not grow up where Rocky Road ice cream was a thing. I am sitting in the lecture hall freaking out — because the only thing midterms need is added pressure — thinking:


My mental model of a rocky road is something like this

My anxiety aside, the point I am getting at with this little story is that

When there is a disconnect between the designer and the user, design fails.

My professor, the designer of the test, and the user, me trying my best to get a C in chemistry and destroying my hopes of getting into med school, have different ideas of what “Rocky Road” is.

So, for anyone making anything that someone will use, it’s about your user! In the field of HCI (human-computer interaction), we attempt to bridge the gap between designers and users through the practice of user-centered design (e.g., participatory design studies). I am a big advocate of looping actual users in the design process — heck, I made an entire Ph.D. dissertation about looping users in the design process at scale.

Let me leave you with this thought, no matter how much experience you have, and how many people are on your design team, you cannot anticipate all of your future users’ abilities and preferences.

#design #UX #fail #funny

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