User-based Design

Design. It is difficult… to create the ‘perfect’ design. It is difficult… because perfection is at the user’s discretion. It is difficult… for one design to satisfy a large user base such as people with disabilities. Given that designing is difficult, it is a common misconception that great design skills stem from an innate gift. Such skills are more likely to be the fruit of hard work and practice. Even then, design skills for one discipline probably do not give an edge when designing for another discipline.

As a student in PPAT, I have already encountered some of the difficulties of design. When learning about Clovis and the ” Video ‘keyboard’ ” project, I founded a few misconceptions. The client profile states that Clovis expresses himself via video clips, and it featured the image of Proloquo2Go, a symbol-based communications application demoed in class. As a result, I jumped ahead and reasoned that the project would be to build an app like Proloquo2Go except with Youtube videos instead of short sound bytes.

I was wrong. Upon meeting Clovis and his family, I realized that my preconceived ideas were misguided. The idea of storing videos to be played back upon a simple tap strayed far from the desired activity. In fact, the video aspect of Youtube was not what they wanted in the first place; it was the dynamic user interface. After a few meetings and discussions, my team arrived upon the notion that we are to build a dynamic typing interface. My original mistake embodies a critical design mistake. A design that isn’t based off what the user wants. We look to work with Clovis step by step to get the app that he wants and needs.

Bottom line, design is difficult… but its that difficulty that makes it so challenging and great.

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