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Designing Differently

It’s human nature to develop routines, to feel comfort in the status quo, and repeat what’s been done before. This helps with everyday living, but it kills designers whose job it is to continually innovate. So, how do you fight it? By breaking out of your rut and designing differently.

The next time you are brainstorming design ideas, take a step outside of yourself and think about it from three different mindsets: the Hero, the Villan and the Sidekick.

  1. The hero. This is the most audacious, trailblazing part of our minds. It’s the character that wants everything to be better for your user and is willing to do whatever it takes to make them successful. The hero wants to move design and experience forward in bigger and bolder ways than ever imagined before. You’re the only one who can do it.
  2. The villian. Think about the antagonistic character that looks like a friend, but really isn’t. The villian thinks of ways to frustrate, overwhelm, and dissuade your user from acheiving their goals. Failure isn’t an option, it’s a mission.
  3. The sidekick. Sometimes you want the user to take the lead and you want to be there to help them succeed. Sidekicks never tell the user what to do, but instead they offer guidance in the form of advice, resources and serendipitous actions that move the user forward. Everybody needs a friend sometimes.

By wearing each of these hats, your view of the design problem you face will be wider and colored with possibilities. You’ll see new boundaries of what’s possible, uncover dangers to avoid, and invent new ways to champion the user. Chances are, the path you choose now is the one less traveled.

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