“Objectified” is a beautiful documentary on Netflix, tapping into the way designers think, expressing multiple views on how we need to be cognizant of what and who we’re designing for.

I think the biggest thing I walked away with was a quote that went something like “The tornado is coming, what in your house do you save? People are going to save the products that had sentimental and true value to them.” I’m not sure who quoted it, but I really felt it resonate.

 

Looking To the Future

We live in a world of mass production. A history laden with designing objects for the sake of design. But if we really dig into the noise, we need to be paying attention to our user’s true needs, struggles, and ultimately survival in a world that’s running out of space because of mass production and careless (selfish) mass production.

From a design standpoint, if we can’t place ourselves into the “day in the life” of our audience, we’re going to miss the point every time. Tapping into the pain-points of how people are using products and what’s causing their experience to be terrible tells us a lot of how we can do better. How can we create or add value?

We don’t want to make products with the “user in mind” though. We have to design products that keep the end user at the forefront of every functional, as well as aesthetic, decision we make.

Getting this right is going to come closer than winging it for the sake of innovation. You can only truly innovate when you’ve studied your audience in and out. You have to be a core member of that audience. Create a product that you as a user will love for reasons x, y, and z. Make a product that someone wants to make memories with.

 

Creating Value

Why is it that so much of the time society is bombarded by meaningless, depthless crap that confuse and annoy people more than it actually solves a real problem? It’s seriously mind-boggling. It’s fake, transparent to a low-hanging fruit approach, and creates not value, but clutter.

We have to solve problems. I mean, that’s the whole identity of a designer. We make statements to who we are as a culture of makers, and we have to create what nobody else can figure out; answers to real problems, in innovative and new ways.

No longer is Africa that far away place that nobody can tangibly help. No longer do we live in a bubble where what we see in stores is what we’re boxed into buying. Google solved a real problem in the wake of innovation by connecting the worlds information (good and bad), which has increased our ability to help those in need with real problems. How do we do this in our own process / innovations?

 

Make What Matters

If we want to continue making what we love in the near future, we have to adapt, thinking like psychologists and behavior analysts. To shy away from learning our audience’s everyday behaviors, we will only limit our effectiveness on their success with our creations. We’ll make half a solution, which is no solution at all.

The way we create ultimate value is for our creations to be the ones they rescue from the fire! Create lasting value that someone makes memories with. Design for the sake of the bigger picture, a life-time of worthiness and value, rather than an 18 month longer shelf life.

Designing value for the user is the only real design. To ignore this fact is a quick route to becoming irrelevant. As a designer, you don’t want to end up with the reputation of holding on to your ideas as most important. You have to hold strong opinions, with an open hand. You should learn from users.

We work for an audience, and if done correctly, they might not even notice the design of your product…they might simply never throw it away like most everything else. It will be valuable. A design worth loving and hanging onto because it now takes the shape of sentiment, with lasting memories that move far beyond the physicality of product design.

True design should push people to focus on what really matters in life, rather than being caught up with products for the sake of being relevant. It’s probably safe to say that nobody cares about the Jesus sticker on your car. Only you, as the owner do, and that’s ok. That sticker has value to you. That sticker might influence somebody, but really, the idea of why you have it on your bumper lies with you. The cause or value on what you’re stating through that message is bigger than the sticker itself.

That’s effective design.

Design for true value. Design for innovation. But always remember to design first and foremost, for the audience who utilizes the product.

 


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