Shirky on purpose

design, design thinking

You know you’ve got a good piece of software when people use it for purposes for which the designers never intended or designed.

— Clay Shirky

Designing for purpose

design thinking

This is the first of several presentations applying different psychological systems to user experience.

Designing for users is a tough job. To optimize our designs and strategy, UX professionals frequently turn to concept/site testing. The problem is that most design strategy and testing thinks in terms of input → output. We provide input, users perform a desired response (click-through, purchase, content creation). How to break out of this mold?

Perceptual control theory (PCT) assumes that all output is based on the ultimate goal of improved perceptual input. If you replace “input” in the previous sentence with “experience,” you’ll see the direction this discussion is going…


Originally posted on UXtraordinary, August 3, 2009.