I’m in the throes of designing a new help desk for our department that will serve to triage help tickets for approximately 15,000 employees. This has been a major undertaking, and retaining the confidence that I can get it done has been a major challenge. However, it’s also been a really great exercise in forcing me to be introspective about how I design my own ethics and culture into the system. When we design and build systems for ourselves, we design for what we need, and if you’re like me, you also aim to design for simplicity and the least work possible that still accomplishes your end goal. When I’m designing for myself, I find that I am more willing to let go of a feature I thought I needed because another one will do the job okay, and okay was enough, especially if it means less work for me….
Recently I read an article that discussed digital signage at the San Jose State University library. The concerns raised by librarian Laurel Eby are very valid, especially if you don’t have any background in graphic design. Questions about content, slide duration, number of slides, and even branding are big questions that can impact how effectively your message gets across. Many, many jokes have been made about how short our attention spans are lately. (Ooh, look – a kitty!) But when you’re designing things that are meant to get – and, hopefully, keep – a person’s attention, there is a seed of truth behind the joke…and you can’t ignore it. Because if you ignore that, then your patrons will ignore you. When I studied television production, we were told about the “elevator pitch”. If you’re not familiar, imagine you’re in an elevator with a famous director – let’s say Steven Spielberg….