The End of User-friendly Design

This article at Co. Design by Kelsey Campbell-Dolleghan asks the astute question “What comes after user-friendly design?” It features a quote by yours truly but even if that weren’t the case I would still be applauding its willingness to consider the long-term effects of our craft.

Campbell-Dolleghan makes the argument that for decades now designers have been working steadfastly to make things simpler and more elegant. That campaign has been hard fought, and somewhat understandably designers have not always thought very deeply about the implications of the end results. Now, more and more, it seems that the full impact of what we do is becoming an important issue to examine in detail. In particular, Campbell-Dolleghan highlights the work of Simply Secure, a non-profit leading the way in thinking about how to build trustworthy user experiences and products.

In part, Simply Secure’s approach focuses on educating designers themselves about best practices… That means convincing the design community that privacy and security are part of their ambit–that these issues aren’t boring or impossibly complex, but rather are design problems that demand elegant design solutions. For instance, how do you communicate when and how a voice assistant is collecting data about a person? How can design foster trust in an e-commerce site’s security? How can design help people understand the way their products work, and give them the agency to control their own experiences?

Simply Secure’s focus is principally on security and privacy which are of course of paramount importance in the present. But it’s not a stretch to say that within a few years it will be incumbent upon design as a craft and designers as professionals to answer many more questions about our work than just “Does it convert?” That’s why the ability to think critically about design is going to be an indispensable skill before too long.

Read the full article at