Product Design Is Lost

In Product Design Is Lost, Rune Madsen writes:

Design workflows at most tech companies follow an incredible number of structured tasks: for each project, designers must create user personas, user stories, journey maps, wireframes, user interviews, and much more. However, driven by a desire from businesses to turn design into a process-heavy, measurable function, we’re filling our time with checklists instead of focusing on the very thing that makes designers relevant.

… and he’s right. People don’t think anymore. They mindlessly follow rituals, hoping to create something useful. This is how universities and bootcamps teach “design”. Check any university website, and you’ll see that it’s all about creating personas, user flow diagrams, low and high fidelity prototypes. While being useful at certain cases, they don’t gurantee “quality”.

If you look at design methodologies, most of them are created by either professors or consultants. None of these people practice product design. But they do get bonus points and money by reinventing the wheel. Design Thinking? What were people doing before Design Thinking?

He then makes another good point on the gap between designers and engineers:

For years, I’ve argued the design profession – fueled by how we educate designers – operates on outdated ideas about the separation of labor. Designers are expected to come up with the ideas, while engineers are merely there to execute them. Design stays in a corner away from technology.

The idea “I’m a designier, I don’t code” is so artificial. If you want to create good solutions, you cannot delegate understanding of technologies to other people.

In the past, designers were engineers who loved and respected computers. Today, it’s rare to find a designer who genuinely enjoy creating software.