Why are people so impressed by visual communication? I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong, I crave the mad love I get when I use my funky diagrams to explain complex details of the projects I work on. And it doesn’t suck that visual thinking, something I’ve been working at my whole career, is suddenly sexy. I guess what’s bugging me a bit about the reckless enthusiasm for all things sketched is that not only is my stuff not THAT good, it’s also that people seem to go nuts for diagrams that are real crap, too.
I blame our old and mid brains.
Design is what it does and what design does is solve problems. Online, we concentrate on designing user experiences because the problems that need to be solved always come down to a single individual and the decisions they make. User experience could be pretty dispassionate work with such cold logic at its core, but in practice, it’s hard not to feel a bit protective of our users. We don’t want to do a Hansel-and-Gretel, abandoning folks in some dark forest full of dangerous critters. We want to create a relatively safe place where they can interact with content, functionality, and other users. We want to design user experiences like petting zoos.
The publishing industry would be in much better shape if it could just stop concentrating on publishing things. Newspaper companies should be tremendous engines feeding a ridiculous variety of publishing vehicles, but they can’t do that as long as their tools are focused on delivery.