Good designers create beautiful mockups and care about
typography. Excellent ones foster teams and environments that
produce outstanding solutions. Designers accomplish that
through three activities.
By the way, it’s always important to guess. Guessing is the
way to learn and advance in science, both for students and
researchers alike. If you guess right, you are very, very
proud you got it right. If you guess wrong, you are really
shocked; maybe not really, but slightly shocked, and that
engages your thinking. You can learn what happened and then
it makes you a little smarter next time. So always guess
before solving any problem.
Setting hypotheses and testing them is one of the cornerstones
of science and critical thinking. People practice it outside
strict scientific fields too, but probably not as deliberately
(the always part). After thinking about this for a couple of
days, this struck me as odd because, as Professor Tadashi
Tokieda had mentioned, it is an excellent learning method.
Guessing tests assumptions, reasoning, and knowing
fundamentals. It can be used for more exact areas like
programming and engineering, but also for messier situations
like usability testing or sales meetings. The tricky part is
remembering to stop for a few seconds, step back, and ask:
“What do I expect to happen, and why?”
People, companies, and governments downplaying new technology
and being left behind is nothing new. Here is an example on
early mechanical telegraphy and semaphores from the first half
of the nineteenth century, as described by James Gleick in his
excellent book The Information:
My attitude towards technology shifted over time. I notice I
put less emphasis on a specific brand, an operating system
maker, or a hardware manufacturer, and more on what I can
accomplish with it. It’s probably a side-effect of seeing
products and services come and go over the years.
Technology is just a tool and, yes, certain tools are better
for certain jobs. But worshiping it doesn’t seem right. A tool
is not the end goal; it’s what I can accomplish with it.
A text editor is not important; writing a poem is.
A camera is not important; capturing a precious moment is.
A phone is not important; calling a friend is.
I’ve recently ran a design sprint and I had this “great” idea
of writing and publishing a short post after each day to
summarize tips and tricks, but logistics and facilitation took
all my time away. Nevertheless, I found one interesting
storyboarding technique that I’d like to share.
Storyboards are visual narratives and I’ve seen many
approaches to creating one: whiteboard or paper sketches,
digital comic builders, or photos of people in a slideshow.
The new approach that really delighted me was building one
with LEGO. It requires more upfront work than sketching, but
the result is clean and feels more real, so it looks like a
good choice for a storyboard that needs to live for a longer
period of time.
LEGO even provides an app for recording and editing movies if
you want to go beyond photos. Note: the app is only
available for iOS at the time of writing.
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