While watching this video from Dan Saffer on “How to lie with Design Research”, a thought just crossed my mind. On the face of it, people might start kicking me. But I have to ask this question anyways. While we are researching for our school projects, aren’t we lying to our peers when we present our arguments? I say this because for most projects we do not get time to do any field research. And we rarely ever do involve actual users in our design process. Mostly that is because we are super constrained by time. So if we believe Dan Saffer’s arguments in the video, we are actually lying with our research. Because we conceive an idea early in the design process and then go out on internet sitting on a chair in our comfy apartments, trying to find data, arguments, media that supports our hypothesis. The more convincing data we find, the more we start feeling confident that we are on the right track. But who is out there to validate? That’s why I believe the capstone presentations this week were an awesome tool to ensure we get grounded early on if we had started flying in our own worlds.

This video also made me think that when I go out of the school, I would have to ensure multiple validation points within the time constraints. Involve as many people as you can, get their opinion and use your judgement. During my internship I had huge success doing the same. I was not consciously aware of it at that time, but I now know it as a design tool. In my design process I worked very closely with my mentor Tamara. When we were confident enough that certain idea is atleast explainable, we would approach our team lead Sam. He would give us perspectives we didn’t even knew existed. Fortunately we had researchers in our team who would go out and validate our hypothesis regularly. And then we validated it by talking to a lot of stakeholders within the organization. These multiple validation points ensured that when we presented our raw ideas to the engineering team, they were very excited although being critical of the radical shift we suggested.

I know there is nothing new in my story above, but I was just trying to externalize my thoughts. And, I know that we don’t lie intentionally, however I feel subconsciously we are lying until our arguments have been validated somehow. In that sense even I lie with my research.  How one looks at ‘validation’ is also very subjective and brings in the designer’s personal beliefs and ethics.

 

 

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