Fail Faster: The importance iterative design

From a young age, students are conditioned to be averse to failure. The education system relies on graded work to determine advancement. Students are under immense pressure to “pass” at any cost, resulting in a range of haphazard solutions from simple memorization to outright plagiarism/copying. In “How American Schools Educate us to Fail”, the author writes:

“…companies want to hire creative problem-solvers. People who can think for themselves and come up with outside-the-box solutions. And yet the vast majority of classes students take while growing up serve to beat the creativity out of them.”

This vision of competing for status is in direct conflict with the speed of working in a real environment. As noted in the Forbes article “How to Fail Faster”:

“In today’s complex business environment, where things are changing constantly, speed of execution is a lot more important than perfect execution.”

Students seeking employment as designers cannot rely on a linear approach and expect exponential results. One of the primary benefits of the iterative approach is that it creates ‘autocatalytic’ loops.

Instead of focusing on a polished, finalized product, a designer must shift their thinking to produce the simplest version of their desired functions. Paper prototyping can be an effective testing platform when paired with user testing. Observing user behavior on quick prototypes can unveil unexpected paths/needs that the designer was not previously addressing. This transparency highlights yet another benefit of the approach; that it creates a user-driven design process.

As connectivity increases and web access spreads throughout the world, user experience and usability will grow to play significant roles in our developing societies. It is critical to put the user first and leave the pride of perfection behind.

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