For months I have been trying to write a post about Detroit. Why Detroit? One, because it has been in the news so much. Two because, as an IA, I think the downfall of Detroit is quite obvious. The city is a manufactured city, instead of a natural place of settlement. It was put together to help fuel the auto plants, and now is faltering in a huge way. But, this isn’t surprising to me. It reminds me of all of the new ideas that startups and even large businesses have that just seem so meaningless. Why are they meaningless? Because they have zero to do with natural human behavior.
Scott Berkun wrote this piece about Google Glass, and I couldn’t agree more. I think we get distracted a great deal, by the coolest and newest technology. Sometimes this is important, but many times it takes us away from our roots. These are, understanding and designing for, and to enhance human behavior. We want to make our users lives better, but in a sustainable way, not in a way that will fall apart.
So the next time you see something new and shiny, I’d like you to ask yourself is this meaningful? And if so how will it help people in real life (not just how it could help people, one day, maybe, with a whole bunch of changes). We IAs are no different than city architects. We have a responsibility to our users and our businesses to not throw together ideas without an idea of how they can sustain, but to vet them, to make them better and to make them help people live better lives.