Data lies to us
In 2015, when I read an article by Travis Gertz about design automation and the templating approach, where he scolded design systems, I still did not agree with him 100%, because I myself wanted to make my work easier and have a structured system of components, from which I could come up with new solutions for new business problems.
Today, I must admit that I agree with every line of his. We have depersonalized design by subjecting it to things like metrics based pseudoscience and a culture of imitation.
The products we work on are carefully controlled, optimized, monitored and corrected, more than ever before.
Designers' decisions are closely scrutinized by managers, marketers, researchers, business analysts, and even clients, using an arsenal of indicators and metrics. Research interpretations, client or executive hypotheses take precedence over the designer's experience, intuition and reason. Metrics affect the interface so much that it becomes their embodiment. Sound thinking fades into the background, its priority is reduced.
Thus, we get the next template, which is suitable for any content, and then move on to the next component of the system. Interfaces are created as if under a common denominator. UI design development has become like a conveyor belt.
And the point here is, among other things, in endless repetitions, imitations, why come up with something new when there are already proven solutions and already worked out trends. In this way, design ideas are passed from one organization to another, they become common to the whole industry, black and white standards are put forward, and the best trends and patterns are determined for all.
Why try something new when someone else has already invented, tested and shown a good result?
The data lies to us. They make us think that we know what the user goes through when working with our product.
It doesn't really take into account physical ability, emotional state, environment, socioeconomic status, or any other human factor other than being able to press correctly colored buttons in the correct order. Even if design machines can take into account demographics, they will never be able to determine their unique combinations, which are different for each person. We cannot rely on data alone. And those who do so view human feelings from the point of view of a robot.
This is where our strength lies. When we stop doing useless things and admit that we will never be able to accurately understand what is going on in other people's heads, we will be able to look at interface design from a new perspective. Instead of trying in vain to make every user happy, we can delve into the content and listen to their heartbeat. We can give content the ability to represent an interface.
“In my understanding, design is a communicative practice, the product of which is a message embodied in an object, and the goal is to impress the user (“consumer” sounds incorrect: existential value cannot be “consumed” - it can be cultivated in a lifestyle). If you approach design like this, the main question will be how to create a product that can impress.” Galina Lola
Taking design from content means we fully acknowledge that everyone interprets it differently. We are no longer chasing good performance. Instead, we think about how to present each content element so that the design reflects its essence. Content should appeal to those who can understand it, to the target audience.