These are things I wish they taught in UX bootcamps and HCI colleges majors.
Design is Everywhere
Seriously, look around you. Everything you see, touch, taste, hear, and smell. Everything has passed through human hands in it’s construction. When you smell the gas leak, did you know that was designed on purpose because natural gas is actually oderless?
Since natural gas doesn’t actually smell like anything, a chemical called mercaptan is added to help you detect a leak. Mercaptan has a very distinct and unpleasant odor that many people compare to the smell of rotten eggs.Con Edison
Designers need to be taught that problem solving is the essence of the job.
You think peaches really look like that? Wrong. We designed better fruits and veggies. You think the trees and grass look like that naturally? Wrong again, we designed everything about our environment.
I think design students should learn about how design has been the central theme of every single human advancement since we started using tools.
The History of User Interface
This is a tragedy to me. How can students become designers if they don’t learn UI History? From Xerox Park where they invented the modern user interface (among other things) to a steady stream of gesture innovations including:
- Mice / Trackpads
- Voice commands
- Mobile/Touch UI
- Pen Tablets
- VR/AR Headsets
Each of these has a story. When capacitive touch sensing was introduced in smart phones, it changed the way we designed interfaces. I wish there were courses that went through different operating systems and how they evolved over time.
The king obviously is the spreadsheet. The craziest UI ever made, which also happens to be the best UI ever made. However, look at interfaces like Visio, PowerPoint, Salesforce.com, Trello, Craigslist, and others. Each one tells a story of how design is used to create value. Some are ugly and some are beautiful, but they are all great interfaces.
I wish students left school with a full knowledge of what makes software great and not an irrational love of everything Apple does.
Business Software Design
For some reason, they focus almost exclusively on mobile design in school. Why? I believe that business software has more opportunity and pays better. The irrational focus on mobile makes no sense to me at all. It means that new designers know nothing about Information Architecture and Data Visualization. These are key skills to make it as a designer. I can imagine entire courses focused on these topics.
Storytelling and Presenting
It’s amazing to me how poor the presentation skills of designers are. To be a leader, you need to be able to present your ideas clearly and concisely. How many people still load up pages with bullet points and read them to the audience? It’s embarrassing. Learn to tell a story and get people inspired by your ideas.
I don’t think any of these things are taught in HCI programs and UX Bootcamps, but I don’t understand why not. They are clearly valuable. Is it because they don’t have any teachers who know the content? Is it because no one has written the curriculum?
I don’t know the answer, but I wish the designers of the courses (yes, courses are designed too!) would do a better job.