Back to Square One, Again.
Lately I've been spending alot more time just surfing, absorbing, doing, and thinking. My feeling is good design comes from both practicing the craft, and crafting the practice. It seems obvious that you need to actually use something to begin to understand it fully, formulate an opinion or get something done, and only then will you begin to be able to impove it.
Paths To Be Travelled.
I've been on a jaunt hitting as many "buzzed" sites, cool sites, and web applications as I can -- and actually using them. I've been messin' with this blog (admittedly nothing innovative, special, entertaining, or even informative here), tinkered with a bevy of bookmark sites (like del.icio.us, ma.gnolia, blinklist), and delved into some of the more social nooks and crannies out there. I'm only now -- after really working with these tools and toys as on a regular basis -- beginning to gain an appreciation of the power and positive aspects of what can and should be done for the user (or better described as consumer). As I wade through it all my expectations rise. I'm writing this post from my Gmail account, but could have just as easily used my Yahoo! account, or even logged into blogger.
Knowing all the latest acronyms, buzzwords, tech-speak, and techno-babble will only get you so far -- and if your lucky enough, a free cup of coffee and an engaging conversation. The point at which I always seem to wind-up is all of it doesn't matter without a user or consumer. If you build it, they may come. Hype won't keep them coming. Simplicity and usefulness will. As I try to squeeze as much into each day these days, I use the methods, and products that allow me to get things done easily and efficiently, and sometimes with elegance. What's my user experience? Lately, it's generally getting better and I seem to be doing more and actually getting more done in less time. In a sense, I'm using it to infuse it. As I go about my daily business I'm noticing new patterns, new approaches and ways of doing things and helping to achieve desired results by design. My goal is to become a better designer along the way.
Practicing the craft requires using the products you are crafting. Crafting the practice to me means developing methods and processes to enable or create successful results on a consistent basis.