Growing up I watched as my father struggled to set the timer on his VCR. (He'll tell you himself he's a luddite.) I helped him set the timer by writing out a specific algorithm of sequential instructions. He is an attorney – and he spent time in the military – so this type of rigor made sense to him. Every time he set the machine to record a program he thanked me afterwards for the instructions. Understanding this dynamic of providing a solution that suits the person trying to accomplish a task was one of the things that motivated me to become a designer.
I've since shown my father Donald Norman's "The Design of Everyday Things" to let him know he's not alone in his frustrations with technology and design.
I practice user-centered design. I live by the two tenets of user-centered design:
- Know thy user
- You are not thy user
Successful design can be considered at three different levels.
1. The Company
I believe a company needs to be aligned from the top all the way on down in order to be successful. This is true for business health in general, not just design. Call this the company's mission, or business strategy, but ultimately this is why the company is setting out to do what they do. I recently read Simon Sinek's "Start With Why" and it blew me away. This "why" will serve as a guide for design decisions throughout the company.
2. The Design Team
Open collaboration is key, not only between the members of the design team itself, but between all stakeholders. Share early and often. Check your ego at the door. Willingly accept criticism. Understand that great ideas can come from anywhere; it is the job of the designer to choose which idea is best.
3. The Individual
A great designer asks the right questions. An unquenchable thirst for knowledge and truth is part of a designer's DNA. I feel that good health, including exercise and diet, feeds and activates the brain. I believe in mindfulness, and try to meditate a few minutes a day. Distractions should be eliminated at all costs; one of the greatest gifts you can gift someone is your attention.
I began playing the drums in grade school. I learned that there are 26 standard rudiments in percussion. Those rudiments can be used as the basis for technique and style. The ratamacue is but one of those rudiments. It is with this grounded approach that Ratamacue Design is founded.