August 26, 2020
As a design student in my senior year of college, to consider myself a human centered designer is a daunting idea. I feel not intelligent enough to solve world problems, or where to start to look for these solutions anyways. I find myself becoming overwhelmed by my empathy. I have the desire to grasp a tangible example of what these prototypes and solutions to social problems will look like, but as I'm discovering there is no cookie cutter for that. Part of embracing this ambiguity is what it means to be a human centered designer. It begins with ambiguity, and instead of searching for a solution upfront, the designer should be intentional with listening, thinking, and gaining perspective and insight from the community searching for the answer. The people affected by the issue will be the ones that have the knowledge of what it means to suffer from that issue, and they will carry the best solutions because of this. This is an interesting point to consider- we as humans often have trouble listening. I can easily relate this process to how the mind works in a conversation. Sometimes while speaking to someone, our mind catches 2-3 words of what the other person is saying and we immediately begin to consider what we want to say next or how we will respond; rather than listening deeply, taking a moment to consider it, then forming what we will say next. To be a human centered designer, your opinions, thoughts, and solutions do not come before. It is not about me, or the aesthetic of my preference. It is not about how I choose to foresee plans, or how I begin to brainstorm. The people that the solutions are serving shall play the most important role, which is where empathy comes to play. One of the most important things one can learn is empathy, and to truly master this is hard. I consider myself an empathetic person, yet I understand I still have work to do and there will be trials throughout my path to understanding human centered design on a deeper level.
The Field Guide To Human Centered Design by IDEO.org