Yesterday's tweet from Chris Dixon, a well known investor and founder of Hunch, caught our eye:
"Desingineer" -> mythical person startups are looking for who can do UI, UX and also excellent front- and back-end coding. ^TS— chris dixon (@cdixon) December 19, 2011
In the past few years people have started paying an insane amount of attention to 'great design and usability of products." Why is that? Well, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business folks are starting to realize that 'Design' is their competitive advantage. Most of the technology capabilities have already been commoditized. Design has not. So it is no surprise that "great designers" are in high demand.
However, most people still have no idea what makes up a great designer or how great designs are made. To most a great design simply means: pretty, hand crafted pixels on your website that take your breath away. 'Just give me a pretty graphic, with some simple wording, and a nicely designed button and I'll slap it on my site' — this is how most people think about a nice design for a site, and it's wrong.
Eric Schaffer, founder of Human Factors International, does a phenomenal job outlining the central element of great design in this video — the user:
The word "user" is unfortunately missing from most of the work typical "designers" deal with on regular basis. Take a look at this job listing which came up first on Indeed for "Designer in Bay Area". How many times does the word "user" appear in it? Zero times. Yet it should be the basis for their entire role.
The difference between people who just craft pretty pixels and images and the people who think about the drives, beliefs, feelings and needs of their users is what makes up amazing designers and products. Once you can understand this difference, you'll understand what a great designer does and why there is so few of them.