By: Marcus Ortiz

Perspectives are fascinating. No matter how definite something may seem, there is always a different angle to see it from (Except Star Wars, it is an unambiguous masterpiece). Over the past week we have asked more questions to interviewees than I can count, but every response has been unique – coming with its own concerns, hopes, and ambitions. Maybe this is what makes human-centered design so difficult but yet incredibly impactful: humans are inherently different. This insight has taught me the importance of the understanding phase in design – I can not decide what is best for others.

Just as Freire claimed the liberator must work with the oppressed, a designer must work with the user, not for them. If the designer does not take their time to work alongside the user, they are assuming their experiences outweigh the people’s they are attempting to help. The problem you are solving is likely not your own, and even if it is, you are likely not the only one impacted by it. If a designer does not take the time to learn and understand the problems of others, he may make matters worse by dehumanizing the user.

Because of perspective, the significance of team communication was definitely highlighted for me. It is so vital for the team to have proper discussions on what they took from interviews rather than just taking notes. These discussions bring out different ideas and perspectives that allow our team to consider different mindsets!

The most difficult part of the past week has easily been narrowing the problem space. With so many perspectives coming at us faster than my internet connection, it seemed that there was no “right” path to choose. Without focusing on solutions, it can seem nearly impossible to trim down the problem space. However, with the help of the team leaders, our team has been able to steer towards a specific topic that we are very excited to work on for the coming weeks!