Sunday, September 20, 2009

Designing With People in Mind

Experience design is the idea of designing with people in mind. Whether the actual design is a printed or digital design, an object or product, a place or environment, the idea is to examine how it will be experienced by people.

In Riane Eisler's book "The Real Wealth of Nations" (left) she argues that the real wealth of our nation is its people. Design educators can translate this to designing with people in mind as well as designing the infrastructure of our physical environment and a sustainable environment through green design of the products we use.

Eisler (right) says, "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan emphasizes the need to invest in our material infrastructure (bridges, roads, etc.) and our natural infrastructure (green jobs, environmental sustainability, etc.). I urge you make a larger investment in the third, even more critical infrastructure: the human infrastructure."

She also says, "By making human capacity development a focal point, we will not only stimulate economic recovery through an extremely cost effective investment; we will also position ourselves to restore and renew our standing as a positive force in the global community, culturally, politically, and environmentally. Our economic crisis is not due simply to the globalization of unregulated capitalism; the problem goes much deeper - and so must the solutions. We’re shifting from the industrial to the post-industrial era where our most important asset is what economists like to call “high-quality human capital”: flexible, innovative, capable people.

Producing this high-quality human capital requires good childcare in homes, good early childhood education in schools and communities, good healthcare, and other long-term investments in caring for the real wealth of our nation: people."

These are all challenges for good experience design such as that being done by the design firm IDEO to improve health care experiences in hospitals and places like the Ronald McDonald Houses for families of seriously ill children.

The goal of design education in schools is to develop flexible, innovative, capable people.

Click on the heading above to go to Riane Eisler's web site.

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