Todd calls for “A new framework”

Todd writes, over at the adaptive path blog

Focusing exclusively on tasks and goals means that you tend to ignore or de-emphasize all of the activities that people engage in that are specifically not goal-oriented. It also means that you will often ignore the messy jumble of activities that take place around but are not oriented toward your system. This is not always problematic but it quickly becomes so when you are designing for multiple contexts and mediums. When it comes to designing for the total experience, the activities that have little to do with the system you are designing are often just as important as those that are central to it. More than ever before, people switch from one context to another rapidly and often. They were in the outskirts of Cleveland mowing their lawn then the cell phone rang and suddenly they’re planning a trip to Thailand.

The thesis of the piece, as I read it, is not simply to shift methodologies (do ethnography and forget usability) but to change the fundamental way that we structure and act on the information we gather about the people we are designing for.

It’s a great challenge for organizations, and for consultants, because there’s powerful cultural infrastructure that drives what is an acceptable piece of new knowledge, and of course, what isn’t. In order to see how you might act on something – what do we DO with this information – requires a shift in perspective. And those don’t happen overnight, when they do happen.


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