Guindo. Diseño de Interacción

Egoless Design

4 Nov, 2010, por Sergio. 1 Comentario

In 1971, Jerry Weinberg in his book The Psychology of Computer Programming introduced the term “Egoless programming”, using this concept to describe the mindset that programmers should have in a peer review environment. Basically the idea is to multiply the number of eyes looking for logic problems, resulting in shorter project completion times and lower defects in live systems. To accept this methodology, developers had to set their egos aside.

In usability teams, or if you are a freelance working temporary inside a company, this methodology and mindset is a must, mainly on the prototyping phase, where biggest decisions are taken.

Design community has been traditionally an ego factory, so some commandments from the egoless programing could be easily translated and applied to the design practice in a collaborative environment, to keep our egos under control:

  1. Understand and accept that you will make mistakes. The point is to find problems on the design early, before you waste time with high-res mockups or some user will have problems on the live project.
  2. You are not your design. Remember that the entire point of a review is to find problems, and problems will be found. Don’t take it personally when one is uncovered.
  3. Alike critique design instead of people. As much as possible, make all of your comments positive and oriented to improving the design.
  4. No matter how much «karate» you know, someone else will always know more. Such an individual can teach you some new moves if you ask. Seek and accept input from others, especially when you think it’s not needed.
  5. The only constant in the world is change. Be open to it and accept it with a smile. Look at each change to your requirements as a new challenge (e.g. new features, new devices, new scenarios…).
  6. The only true authority stems from knowledge, not from position. Knowledge engenders authority, and authority engenders respect, so if you want respect in an egoless environment, cultivate knowledge. Design solutions use to be more powerful by the argument that by the solution itself.
  7. Fight for what you believe, but gracefully accept defeat. Sometimes your ideas will be discarded, maybe due technological restrictions, end users characteristics or simply by industry trends. That will not be defeats, for sure, accept this fact as a natural part of the iteration process.

Un comentario

  1. Sergio says:

    Dann Saffer recently posted an interesting related article: «Everything I’ve Ever Learned About Giving Design Critiques I Learned from Tim Gunn.