While I agree with the general consensus that the Desiderata reading seems to be the most palatable view of design, I can’t shake this feeling that I’m not entirely comfortable with it. If anyone can tease out a bit more to this, please do so.

Originally in my notes I’d decried this sense I’d been getting of overlooking marginalized individuals. I don’t think that desiderata was necessarily (or even has to be) aimed in this way, this supposition that user’s needs are somehow not what we should be designing for, or that the designer needs to tease out secret hidden desires… Hell, there are tons of people where simple basic need IS the problem, and the design work comes into play (i’d assume) in understanding what systems are in place that are denying them that need, and subverting or establishing a new system.

I don’t really want to keeping harping on this ‘Consumerist! Capitalist!’ thing which has cropped up in half of my posts here, but I guess that the idea of desiderata to me seems to come from this idea that designers will be working within a company setting, or on products. Or that in order to create “the next big thing”, we need to take a deeper look beyond what people simply say they want and discover what they really do. (And of course this gets into the whole ‘designers knowing better than the user’ thing, but that’s been talked about a bit more already).

And I think that’s me just forcing that perspective onto the paper a bit. I think Nelson and Stolterman are a bit more closely concerned with a careful design of what values we *want* the future to hold, ala Dunne and Raby. Which overall I really agree with. But I guess my point is more – although yes, in order to design for the future we need to get at underlying desires and imagined futures, there are simply some issues for which the “need” is right there in front of us, and really *is* the main issue. Now maybe dealing with this ‘need’ will have to take into account the desiderata of the other players involved?

A deeper and much better critique I think is the way Jeff framed it this afternoon – Nelson and Stolterman are directly prescribing *how design should be done*. Even if I think they’re right on the money for a whole slew of design thinking, even in their wide net, they’re still limiting what design is or can be.

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