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Keep it complex

Posted December 2014

Our definition is more than the sum of the things we call ourselves, or the labels others assign to us. I must remember, that guy I’m designing for? He’s not just an ABC1 male, he’s also a brother, a son, a friend. He’s having trouble finding his Oyster card and it’s raining, and oh, look, there goes the bus. He’s going through stuff!

The designer, when creating services, products or experiences must try to untangle the complex web of needs and aspirations of their intended recipient, and facilitate them in the simplest, and most enjoyable way possible. In my opinion, anyway. Therefor, the designer must learn to appreciate that people are rich, nuanced and complex — not easily pigeon-holed into simplified marketable demographics.

There’s always a danger of making things too complicated, especially when trying to provide a bespoke or customised service. However, complicated is different from complex. Often, there’s also a danger of over simplifying things. If people are multi-layered, design outcomes should also be multi-layered in order to be flexible to context. Things shouldn’t be ‘rolling out’, or overly consistent to the point of feeling cold. There’s huge opportunity to explore different facets of a personality through design and context.

This text was originally posted as part of this article on Medium.