in Digital Service Design

Stepping Back, Squinting

I’m finally in a position to use much of my design and business experience and thinking, as well as facing challenges where I have no experience. And the situation is causing me to question much of what I knew about how to effectively deliver design consulting.

In short, there’s a lot of blah blah blah in our industry, and little knowledge and practice of what actually works. And now that my ass is on the line to make something work, the blah blah blah gets no attention from me.

  1. Amen. In fairness, I suspect that a lot of the blah blah blah is rooted in the need / desire for practitioners in a ((still) relatively) new industry to seem credible to what is largely a set of ((still) relatively) uneducated buyers.

    Since you are, comparatively, knowledgable, you can sort the wheat from the chaff much more easily, and recognize the blah blah for what it is.

    Let’s hope to see more knowledgeable people amongst the ranks of those who ‘buy’ design.

  2. find a reason to get into the field for a while and talk to people with whom you wouldn’t ordinarily do so. i find it helps trying to explain stuff that tends to get bogged down with jargon in these situations, if nothing else, it bring clarity to your own mind about what you are doing and why.

  3. But if the consultants knew or told everyone what works, they would be out of work rather quickly.

  4. The devil is always in the details. The closer you look at the nitty gritty of how any real-life system actually works, the more complex it proves to be. This is where customization comes in. Clients often want something *very specific, deeming it absolutely crucial to usability – that you never would have thought to offer.

    With time, you get better at anticipating how much flexibility to build into a system, so functionality can expand. I design presentations. Clients are comfortable with PowerPoint (and sometimes that’s all they need), so I attempt to accommodate them, but if I sense that what they ultimately want is approaching the limits of what PowerPoint can easily handle, I don’t hesitate to switch to Flash. Nothing worse than not having the right tool for the job.

    Good luck with your project!

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