Design and UX in your kitchen

I like food a lot, mostly from an academic view point. I see so many concepts in the act of feeding that apply to other parts of life. So, naturally when I’m about to explain or share my thoughts on Design, Design-Thinking and UX, this comes to mind, also because we can all relate.

Design is the conceptualisation and creation of something. It is the process of converting ideas into a thing and actively shaping it into desired reality.

The first point to remember about design is that it’s a method of solving problems, overcoming challenges.

Imagine you were asked to solve the problem of hunger for a number of people, think ‘Come Dine With Me’ There are a number of ways you could solve this;

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  1. Go to a shop and buy food for them (if it were come dine with me, you can be sure that you will get really low marks for doing it)
  2. Cook food, just cook anything you feel is good to eat
  3. Cook food, that you are sure they will like to eat

Number 1 solution, here you will likely solve the problem of hunger for atleast 1 person, but you are not creating anything, so this is clearly not Design.

Number 2 solution involves cooking which is the act of creating a meal from disparate ingredients, so this is design. When we take design out of it’s usual contexts, it is design-thinking

Number 3 solution which involves getting to know the people who will be fed, their likes/allergies so as to cook a delicious meal to their taste without killing anyone is the UX approach to design, some call this Human-centred design, in addition I say it’s responsible design. You might even find when you ask people questions that their challenge is not hunger but company.

Another aspect of design to consider is clarity. Designers need to be comfortable in ambiguous and complex situations, which is what a restaurant’s kitchen looks like to an outsider.

Designers ought to take that complexity and make it clear for those they are designing for, the same way the chef sends out a plate to a table without a hint of the madness that has gone behind it in the kitchen. You cannot achieve this responsibly if you don’t get to know the people you are cooking for, a simple question, What would you like to eat?, goes a long way.

So from this illustration we see that problems can be solved without involving design, though many times, design is the better approach. We also see that you could design a thing without involving those you are creating for. UX is the approach that allows you design with the best possible outcome.

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