Intention in Design

My topic is intention in design, specifically having the intention of designing for the user. There is a difference between designing around the user interacts with design, and designing to change user behavior. Both however, are designs intending to think about the user. So I guess to simplify, my word is now user. What do you want the user to gain from your design? Is the user learning something new, or are you designing around a user’s common knowledge of design? From my research, I am understanding that there’s been a shift towards direct behavioral design. This means really trying to influence user behavior through design. This could mean trying to get the user to interact with the design that you think will be most beneficial to understanding the content, as opposed to having them interact with the way they’re used to doing it across platforms. But, now that raises the question, will it get too confusing? If everything is trying to directly influence a user, do we lose all common interaction with design? If we’re used to navigating a certain way across platforms, will we know how to navigate if everyone is using a different setup? I think that is where platforms have learned to keep consistency. I’m sure bigger platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have leeway as to how they want navigation to work according to their content, but other platforms have to follow by example because this is where the majority of users are learning app navigation, via social media. I’m thinking of this just in terms of digital design platforms, but I’m sure it could apply across the board. So if all the smaller platforms have to follow by example, is this shift really plausible? Well, I think it’s a matter of how much change can you get away with to really make the direct behavioral impact without changing too much about the functionality. As long as a user can be easily taught any changes from what they’re used to, a platform could get away with changes to best represent the content. But, this would still be considered user centered design. What younger designers want to do now is have an immediate impact on a user’s behavior. Hence, direct behavioral design. In fact, direct behavioral design is utilized by really understanding user centered design. In order to directly change their behavior, they have to know what their instinctual reaction will to be based on what they’re used to, just as user centered design would have to do. But, in direct behavioral design, they will use that information to trigger a different behavior. They see users as components in a system that will act in a predictable way, so they take advantage of that to direct their behavior in different ways through the design of the system. Just to simplify this concept for myself, an example would be that a person sees a set of stairs and predictably knows those stairs are meant for them to walk up to another level in a space. In user centered design, those stairs are put there because there is in face another level and this will indicate that fact to the user and will let them know they can walk up them to get to the other level. In direct behavioral design, the designer will use the immediately knowledge of the staircase and try to do something to it to get a different reaction. They might put a wall at the top of the staircase in order to get the user to look down.