What does design have to do with sustainability?
Design is a broad term and includes not only UX Design and UX Strategy, which are relevant to our IT domain, but also industrial, architectural, landscape, fashion and many other types of physical design. Everything that surrounds us at home or outdoors – household items, mobile phones, cars, buildings, even streets and cities – must be adequately designed to be effective.
As Frank Chimero wisely said, “People ignore design that ignores people.”
If the design is beautiful and human-centered, created based on the actual customer or user journey, the object, product or service will be used. If not, it’ll go straight to the trash, causing harmful emissions and a waste of resources, negatively impacting sustainability efforts.
With global digitalization being the norm these days, user experience (UX) design becomes especially important since paperless digital user interfaces are nowadays the critical elements of almost every business process. Cars, aircraft, buildings and interiors are designed with the help of software, and UX Designers are designing this software for their peers – designers.
There’s some pretty good news, though. All design disciplines share the same design principles, methodologies and innovation techniques, like Design Thinking, to make their craft, identifying the right problem to solve, which results in solutions that are useful, intuitive, desirable, feasible and profitable.
Intuitive, human-centered products will be loved and thus used for years, saving resources and ensuring sustainability. Intuitive products and HMIs minimize the risk of human error, which sometimes can have a negative impact on the environment.
A short while ago, I met up with Don Norman, a ‘Father of UX’ and inventor of the term ‘User Experience,’ who led one of the investigation committees for the post-accident research at Three Mile Island. During the meeting, he taught us about sustainability, specifically focusing on the designers’ role in applying our innovation methodologies that fight and get to the root cause of world crises such as hunger, lack of clean water, and economical, educational and health-related challenges.
Don Norman and Kate Hofmann, 2019, Kyiv, Ukraine
Sustainability has been a hot topic throughout the design community for a while now, and all generations of designers are in constant talks, contributing ideas on how to stop rewarding people only on short-term results with eye-catching design, but change the entire way people think and consume – to change the world for the better.
Let’s have a conversation about how we can work together to design a more sustainable future. Contact us to request a meeting.