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Stop designing for everyone. Just stop!
Unleashing the power of designing for anyone, not everyone, to ignite innovation, inclusivity, and authenticity
Welcome to Learn Primitives!
Here's what you'll learn:
Designing for anyone, not everyone
Tailoring experiences to fit
Personalization vs. Standardization
and much more…
Let’s dive in…
In one of our Shaping Desing podcasts,touched on a very important subject:
We were giving this master class and one of the slides in it was, it’s like designed for everyone, and I cross it out and it’s designed for the people that want it designed.
Anyone should be able to use your product, but not everyone will.
This obviously got us thinking.
Designing for anyone, not everyone, has become a deeply personal journey for us. Over the years, we have come to appreciate the power of embracing individuality and diversity in the creative process. This article dives into the thought-provoking concept of designing for anyone, highlighting how it fosters innovation, inclusivity, and a more human-centric approach to design.
Embrace unique individuals
When I sit down to design, I'm not thinking about a faceless mass of people. I'm thinking about the individuals who will engage with my creations. Each human has its own story, its own needs, and its own quirks. Designing for anyone means acknowledging and celebrating these differences, and understanding that we are not all the same. It's about creating experiences that resonate on a personal level, touching people's lives in unique and meaningful ways.
Remember, you are NOT the user… even if you use the product.
Tailoring Experiences to Fit
In a world where personalization has become the norm, it's only natural to extend that mindset to design. We no longer live in an era of generic solutions.
We crave experiences that feel tailor-made for us. Not a one size fits all approach.
Designing for anyone means taking the time to understand the specific requirements and desires of different user groups. It's about crafting solutions that adapt to individual preferences, empowering users to shape their own experiences. By doing so, we create a bond between the user and the design that goes beyond superficial engagement.
Personalization vs. Standardization
Critics of the "design for anyone" approach argue that it promotes fragmentation and exclusion, as it seemingly neglects the majority in favor of a select few. However, this perspective fails to recognize the power of personalization. Designing for anyone means embracing customization and tailoring experiences to individual preferences. Instead of settling for standardized solutions that attempt to cater to the masses, this controversial approach allows for greater personal agency and the creation of more meaningful, relevant, and inclusive designs.
So based on all this, I wanted to know… how can we use this knowledge and design solutions?
Here are 3 strategies to try out:
1️⃣ Subvert expectations
By intentionally subverting societal expectations, we challenge the status quo and provoke thought, encouraging users to question ingrained beliefs and explore alternative perspectives.
2️⃣ Amplify marginalized voices
By prioritizing marginalized communities, we address historical inequities in design, foster inclusivity, and empower those whose voices have been silenced, stimulating a more diverse and representative design landscape.
Provocatively ask: Whose voices are being heard, and whose are being ignored?
3️⃣ Embrace Discomfort
By designing experiences that evoke discomfort, we create opportunities for growth, empathy, and critical self-reflection, pushing users beyond their comfort zones to challenge assumptions and foster a deeper understanding of complex issues.
Design is a messy process as it should be!
In the realm of design, there are no universal rules that universally apply to every situation.
You break the rules, and it is okay.
Don't get me wrong, all with the intention of establishing realistic expectations and fostering creative exploration.
Instead of pushing for a design that everyone wants or can use, design a product for the people that want it designed.
Instead of saying:
❌ “Let’s design a dashboard experience everyone can use.”
Try something like this:
✅ “Let’s design a dashboard experience tailored towards data scientists.”
At the end of the day, you’re going to be designing something… but that something will be what that group of individuals truly wants.
Now go out there and have fun. Explore. Try things out.
Until next time,
Pascal & Mitchell
Hey, Mitchell & Pascal here! Thanks for checking out this week’s free edition of the Shaping Design newsletter. We strive to send you the best tips and our very own unique perspective each week. Subscribe to get each article!
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