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De-jargonising design

De-jargonising design

Design is becoming fairly mainstream, a part of many projects, and frequently discussed in the business press. But still many people think it is all about making an interface look better. Why is this still happening?

Donna believes that there are many reasons this happens. One of the biggest contributors is the way designers use jargon. We also try to sell the idea of design instead of focusing on how it can be used to solve problems. And design really isn't one thing - it's a broad concept with a range of techniques and approaches.

She's in a new role where she has to teach her organisation what designers do, what problems they can help with and how they do it. And the organisation has to teach this to clients. So she's spent a lot of time working on how to make design concepts more concrete, less jargon-filled and ultimately more understandable.

Donna Spencer

April 11, 2019
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  1. De-jargonising design
    Web Directions Design 2019

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  2. About me
    20+ years experience, mostly freelance
    3 books: on IA and web writing
    Leading a new design capability in a traditional
    software company
    @maadonna

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  3. How do I communciate what we do,
    so that other people can bring in the right
    work

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  4. “DESIGN” HAS HIT THE MAINSTREAM

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  5. “What every executive needs to know about design”
    • Create experiences people love
    • User-centred
    • Understand emotions and desires
    • Know your competitors
    • Test, test and test some more
    https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/what-every-executive-needs-
    to-know-about-design

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  6. “Making design a business priority”
    • think about customers
    • empathize with end users
    • try to solve problems while keeping its customers in mind
    https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/making-design-a-business-priority

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  7. “The right way to lead design thinking”
    • Leverage empathy
    • Encourage divergence and navigate ambiguity
    • Rehearse new futures
    https://hbr.org/2019/03/the-right-way-to-lead-design-thinking

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  8. “5 ways to get the most out of your design team”
    • Hire experienced design leaders
    • Take the handcuffs off design
    • Run experiments, lots of them
    • Have measurement mechanisms in place
    • Encourage broad design adoption
    https://hbr.org/2019/04/5-ways-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-design-team

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  9. “The business value of design”
    • Analytical leadership
    • Cross-functional talent
    • Continuous iteration
    • User experience
    https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-
    design/our-insights/the-business-value-of-design

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  10. https://designintech.report/2019/03/09/design-in-tech-report-2019/

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  11. NO-ONE UNDERSTANDS IT

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  12. Definitions
    Noun
    • A plan or drawing produced to
    show the look and function or
    workings of a building,
    garment, or other object
    before it is made.
    Verb
    • Decide upon the look and
    functioning of (a building,
    garment, or other object), by
    making a detailed drawing of it.

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  13. HOW WE CAN HELP PEOPLE
    UNDERSTAND

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  14. But first…a tangent
    Animal
    Dog
    Dalmatian
    Furniture
    Table
    Boardroom
    table

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  15. DESIGN IS…

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  16. Not just ‘thinking about users’
    but actually working with them
    Understand goals, tasks, needs
    Build empathy
    Accessible and inclusive
    User-centred
    Photo by Bec Ritchie on Unsplash

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  17. Don’t take the straight path
    Explore many ideas
    Experiment
    Creative problem solving
    Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash

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  18. Shared experiences
    “Alone and isolated within a company, design is a microworld of
    aesthetic high-fives.”
    John Maeda: https://designintech.report/2019/03/10/design-in-tech-report-2019-section-1-tbd-tech-x-business-x-design/

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  19. Designing with people is more
    effective that doing design to
    them
    Deciding with not for

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  20. Experimental and iterative

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  21. Design without delivery
    is just hand-waving
    Implemented
    Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

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  22. DESIGNERS AREN’T HOMOGENOUS

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  23. Research Attention
    to detail
    Modelling Writing Storytelling Structuring Visual
    design
    Art
    direction
    Content
    creation
    Interviewing
    Communic
    ating
    complex
    concepts
    Facilitating
    Industry specific
    Programming
    Change mgt
    Cognition
    Platforms
    Organisational
    culture
    Marketing
    Product strategy
    Business strategy
    Research methods
    Design methods

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  24. + mindset
    Pragmatic Idealistic
    Experimental Delivery
    Follow Question
    Perfect Approximate

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  25. Research Attention
    to detail
    Modelling Writing Storytelling Structuring Visual
    design
    Art
    direction
    Content
    creation
    Interviewing
    Communic
    ating
    complex
    concepts
    Facilitating
    Industry specific
    Programming
    Change mgt
    Cognition
    Platforms
    Organisational
    culture
    Marketing
    Product strategy
    Business strategy
    Research methods
    Design methods
    Pragmatic Idealistic
    Experimental Delivery
    Follow Question
    Perfect Approximate

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  26. Research Attention
    to detail
    Modelling Writing Storytelling Structuring Visual
    design
    Art
    direction
    Content
    creation
    Interviewing
    Communic
    ating
    complex
    concepts
    Facilitating
    Industry specific
    Programming
    Change mgt
    Cognition
    Platforms
    Organisational
    culture
    Marketing
    Product strategy
    Business strategy
    Research methods
    Design methods
    Pragmatic Idealistic
    Experimental Delivery
    Follow Question
    Perfect Approximate
    X
    X
    X
    X

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  27. Research Attention
    to detail
    Modelling Writing Storytelling Structuring Visual
    design
    Art
    direction
    Content
    creation
    Interviewing
    Communic
    ating
    complex
    concepts
    Facilitating
    Industry specific
    Programming
    Change mgt
    Cognition
    Platforms
    Organisational
    culture
    Marketing
    Product strategy
    Business strategy
    Research methods
    Design methods
    Pragmatic Idealistic
    Experimental Delivery
    Follow Question
    Perfect Approximate
    X
    X
    X
    X

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  28. Research Attention
    to detail
    Modelling Writing Storytellin
    g
    Structuring Visual
    design
    Art
    direction
    Content
    creation
    Interviewing
    Communic
    ating
    complex
    concepts
    Facilitating
    Industry specific
    Programming
    Change mgt
    Cognition
    Platforms
    Organisational
    culture
    Marketing
    Product strategy
    Business strategy
    Research methods
    Design methods
    Pragmatic Idealistic
    Experimental Delivery
    Follow Question
    Perfect Approximate
    X
    X
    X
    X

    View full-size slide

  29. Research Attention
    to detail
    Modelling Writing Storytelling Structuring Visual
    design
    Art
    direction
    Content
    creation
    Interviewing
    Communic
    ating
    complex
    concepts
    Facilitating
    Industry specific
    Programming
    Change mgt
    Cognition
    Platforms
    Organisational
    culture
    Marketing
    Product strategy
    Business strategy
    Research methods
    Design methods
    Pragmatic Idealistic
    Experimental Delivery
    Follow Question
    Perfect Approximate
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Does this have to be a
    designer?

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  30. COMMUNICATING DESIGN

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  31. Research Attention
    to detail
    Modelling Writing Storytelling Structuring Visual
    design
    Art
    direction
    Content
    creation
    Interviewing
    Communic
    ating
    complex
    concepts
    Facilitating
    Industry specific
    Programming
    Change mgt
    Cognition
    Platforms
    Organisational
    culture
    Marketing
    Product strategy
    Business strategy
    Research methods
    Design methods
    Pragmatic Idealistic
    Experimental Delivery
    Follow Question
    Perfect Approximate
    X
    X
    X
    X
    Who are you?

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  32. Where are your gaps?

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  33. Who is asking?
    What do they know?
    What are they asking?
    Who…
    Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash

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  34. Things I hear from clients
    • Don't know what to do next
    • Need something to look good
    • Need detailed screen design done
    • Want to check an idea (feature, product) is a good one
    • Don't know about their users (or their stakeholders or anyone else
    who we can research)
    • Need to implement something new and not sure how

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  35. Communicating design…
    Design is not one thing – communicate the chunks, not
    the concept
    Designers aren’t one thing – think about what you do
    Who is asking, what do they know, what do they need
    to know

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