I know its been a week since the rest of you talked about this reading, but I wanted to share some general thoughts and reflections I had while away.
When first reflecting on the Cross reading, I was unsure whether I enjoyed it or not. As I read through the text, I felt like saying “Well, duh… that’s obvious…” on many sections of the text. But the more I think about it, I did enjoy the reading. I saw this text as a validation of what we have been learning in the HCI/d program. The fact that I’m saying “Duh” in my head proves to show that I have actually learned about design within this graduate program.

One part that stood out particularly to me was the “Attachment to Concepts” section. This section basically discussed the fact that designers have a tendency to cling to their early solution ideas and or concepts. Cross argued that designers follow one design idea to solve a problem, even if they run into issues. Designers will keep on with this idea and apply small fixes as opposed to finding a better overall solution. As I read through this section, I had flashbacks to Marty’s IDP class. I can see him in my head screaming “This is bad design. Never marry your ideas.” The approach of patching a design is like cough and cold medicine for a virus. It solves some of the symptoms, but doesn’t really solve the problem. A good design should address the whole, rather than parts. I think that’s something I have really taken away from this program.

Another section that stood out to me was the “Fixation” section. I agree with what Cross says, that when designers fixate on already made solutions, and it can hinder their creativity and further exploration. However, I do not necessarily see this as a bad thing in some cases. There are certain design patterns that users are familiar with. I can see that in some design problems, creating your design around a familiar pattern will make user adaption easier. For example, at work I’ve been working on a social CRM app for sales reps. Theres a good portion of them that are not very tech savvy, but when introduced to the idea of the app, they asked, “What kinds of apps can I download now that will help prepare me to use the one we will get?” Having examples ready to reference can help out. If you are too out there with your designs, there is a risk of a huge learning curve, which some users may not be willing to do. As Cross stated in his summary, fixation is a double-edged sword. But being conservative in some cases is not necessarily a bad thing.

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