Why I’m taking a break from my weekly blogging

Bringing out the Wisdom — Week 7

It’s been long that I felt so insecure as a designer. Anything I come up with really. I just don’t think it’s that good. My concepts feel unoriginal and ungrounded. My design process feels fragmented, leading to no real conclusion. Even though I still strongly believe in the motivation behind my project, I’ve been having a hard time to translate this into anything significant.

I know, insecurity isn’t a bad thing. If you are not uncomfortable, you are not learning. However, I feel like more confidence would make me do better work. I would be productive. I would pursue things that I wouldn’t do otherwise. With more confidence, it would be easier to get other people on board.

So today I’m going to attempt to fix it. I’m going to reflect on my first 7 weeks of thesis and I’m going to make a plan to turns thing around.

I think one major cause of my insecurity is my design process strategy. I’ve been trying to do weekly sprints. Every week I tried to produce something. An experiment, a workshop or a prototype. I was hoping that this artificial pressure would force me to keep an high pace. I wanted to counter the theory heaviness of my topic by producing things.

The sprint strategy made me get in touch with many facets of wisdom. It has given me a sense of the wisdom landscape. In the early weeks it really helped me to move fast. However, it’s also brought me a range of fragmented ideas. Every week I had to start over. Every week I had to face the blank canvas. Whenever I intuitively felt I found something interesting, the sprint structure caused me to cut the cords and to continue. It made me miss out on some opportunities.

I just realized that especially with the complex nature of my topic, thoughts need time to grow. Getting into depth within a week turned out quite impossible.

Thinking back, I’ve never needed some kind of artificial structure during my design work. I’ve always enjoyed the freedom to let my intuition guide my process. So in the remainder of my project, I will give up on the weekly sprint structure. I will let my intuition guide my process.

Having to share something every week, through my blogs, made me really impatient. I realized that I get creative when I’m in a state of relaxation. For the last weeks I’ve hardly been able to get into that state. That’s why I decide to give up on the weekly blogging. I will keep sharing my progress, but I won’t do it weekly.

I’m still wondering about this other thing. How come that I’m so insecure about my design concepts? Whenever I come up with a concept, I have little idea whether people would be motivated to use it. I don’t even know if people actually want to get wiser. I can’t distinguish a good idea from a bad one. Where does this insecurity suddenly comes from?

I think this insecurity it’s the result of a lack of design intuition to design for wisdom. As a designer, I heavily rely on my intuition to spot quality. Now I’m just not feeling it. Why?

I think of intuition as a balloon. Past experiences will make it inflate. For example if a user test makes you realize that people don’t actually read your content, but only scan, in the next project you will intuitively avoid big chunks of text. I think you need these past experiences to make your design intuition balloon grow.

I just realized that my intuition balloon to design for wisdom is still pretty shallow. I’ve haven’t really been designing so far so I don’t know what works and what doesn’t. Besides that, there aren’t any interaction patterns I can rely on. Applying design thinking to wisdom is something I haven’t really seen others do. That’s why there isn’t a lot of knowledge that I can built upon.

This realization gives me peace. I can’t really expect myself to have this design intuition already. So far, I’ve been creating things with the intend to gain knowledge about the nature of wisdom, not to design for delightful user experiences. Now I know the theory, but little do I know about what happens if my concepts get released into the wild.

In order to gain this intuition, I will be prototyping in the wild. The world is my playground. I will prototype the design concepts that I have now, and just try them out. See what happens. In three weeks I hope to settle on one concept and develop that until the end of my thesis.

I’m happier now. At the beginning of my thesis my goal was to try out stuff without knowing that they would work. That’s what I did. Some things works and other things didn’t. Now it’s time to take back the steering wheel and navigate into a different direction.

Interaction Design Thesis Martijn

Journey of Interaction Design Thesis by Martijn

Martijn van den Broeck

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Designer at Google Chrome for iOS - Interned at IDEO - Umeå Institute of Design Alumni

Interaction Design Thesis Martijn

Journey of Interaction Design Thesis by Martijn