User experience, usability, user centered design…. these are words that are very loosely used of late. I hear clients use them all the time…. to justify a completely irrelevant, flamboyant feature that they want to incorporate into their application/ website. This would annoy a designer to no end. But, truth be told, how many of us actually practice the user centered design process?
The sad truth is that it is a developer-driven culture. In the service industry, I have been part of some fabulous design teams. I have seen them being shot down with the mere suggestion of Wireframes, let alone other UCD practices like interviews, card sorts and the like.
Designer’s adapt, that’s what we do. Card sorts, impromptu interviews and expert reviews were conducted collectively. Collaboration was the name of the game. Paper prototypes/ sitemaps were quickly mocked up after a requirement gathering meeting. These were shared with other designers. A quick card sort would be conducted. Each would contribute their ideas and this would then be formally mocked up and reviewed again.
Bottomline is without the process there is no design, unfortunately, without the user there is no design either. However, when all else fails, turn to your colleagues to help fill in the blanks!