Okay, so it took me a while to post this because I had to read the “Design Ability” paper over and over again to make sure my eyes we’re deceiving me, but I remembered that I paid good money for my contacts, so I wasn’t mistakened. Oh where to start? First and foremost, I would like to say that it has been a minute that I had read something to make me want to throw my computer out of the window. I’m tempted to delete this paper because I’m that sickened by it. I will start from my beginning and work my way up and be very thorough with my dislike for this paper.

My first encounter with my dislike for this paper lies in this quote:

“Ever since the emergence of designers as professionals, it has appeared
that some people have a design ability that is more highly developed than
other people – either through some genetic endowment or through social and
educational development. In fact, some people are very good at designing.” (pg. 4, PDF pg. 2)

More developed? What does he mean by ‘more developed’? What is his criteria for a ‘more developed’ designer? Are we talking about quality of their work? More detailed in their thinking of the problem and a possible solution? The rate that a designer can come up with a solution? What does that mean? I understand that he explains that the sources of these abilities are given through some work of your ‘good’ XY or XX chromosomes–I won’t get into that because I literally stared at my computer at his audacity to put that BS in a paper–and/or your development through life; but really, what is his classification of good design?

My next dislike was when he stated the categories used in his method of research. The first categories was ‘Interview with Designers’. Looking at the topics, I thought it was great that he was doing some empirical work in order to form his argument better; however under the ‘Interview’ category when he said that the designers were acknowledged as having a well-developed design ability. Under whose standards? Is it the author’s standards? Is it the designer’s co-worker’s standards? What is this ‘well-developed design ability’? Even when I read on, I only encountered more seemingly opinionated dialog. The author classifies designers as ‘inexperienced or experienced’ but never mentions on what terms. For example, I have met some people in our cohort who have done different areas of design (be it architecture, industrial, graphic, etc.) so I consider them to be experienced in the area that they specialize in, but in HCI/d they are inexperienced because they have not completed their M.S. in HCI/d just yet. Maybe it’s just my opinion of the matter, but there should be some type of standard listed in the paper to give an idea of what the ‘experienced’ designer is.

But oh, when I went on to read, I guess I found my solution. On pg. 8/PDF pg. 4, Cross states that ‘Expert designers exercise very developed forms of certain tacit, deep-seated cognitive skills’. I took this to mean that he means that expert designers think on a deeper level the more they develop. Honestly, the best designs I have ever seen is when people ask vast questions instead of implying then just sketch their hearts out. By this time, I understood that this was going to be a biased piece that I would yell at all night, disagreeing with almost everything.

I’m not going to go into all the details. My notes are filled with rants and comments about how disgusted I am. But one more piece that I completely was disgusted at was his idea that designers must structure the way that they think. He mentioned that Peter Starck sometimes think of designs very spontaneously then he goes on to talk about the ‘obscurity’ of how a designer formulates idea. With the example of the lemon squeezer and the design process of it, he doesn’t hesitate to state that it’s proposed that designers use it for ‘creative’ thinking. This way of thinking only fits the author’s tastes. There is no one way to go around concepting or designing something. There have been many instances where I literally dreamed up a design. If I never change the way I come up with concepts, does that forever make me ‘inexperienced’?

I’m sorry for the long rant. This paper just made me go wild for a bit!