Five Lessons on the Complexity of Practice
Uday Gajendar, User Experience Pathfinder, Adobe Systems, Inc., San Jose, CA
This paper offers five lessons from Silicon Valley to prepare designers for the current and
emerging nature of practice. The fundamental premise concerns the dawning realization that
design is becoming an integrative discipline, service-driven, and experience-oriented—especially
as interactive technologies abound. This outlook implies the need for a designer beyond a
“maestro of form” who can chart an efficient course through the social, political, and cultural
intangibles that constitute the “fog of design” to advance a vision. Failure to accept this expanded
view of design will diminish, even marginalize, design’s role in cross-disciplinary endeavors as
engineering and marketing solidify their lead. Thus, this paper’s goal is to highlight such
complexities so as to initiate dialogue with key members of academy and industry who wish to
evolve the education of tomorrow’s designers.
Ultimately, the designer’s goal is to deliver something (a product, service, or experience) that
enriches people’s lives somehow. The journey to get there is hard and messy; knowing how to
deal with this can empower designers in profound ways, as the insights below demonstrate.