Designing for failures



We’ve been paying too much attention to UX for websites and for products. We are trying to design something that gives users high practicality, ease to understand and ultimately a pleasant experience so that users will be doing something for us. In some cases, that is an e-commerce website where we want to convert traffic, interests and interaction to sales. In other case, it could be a Facebook app that users’ impression and engagement could boost the ad spending.

Most of the time, we are too caught up with designing with the assumption that users will go the way we want them to or with another assumption that our design thinking is good enough to make users do what we want to do.

Someone has said “we have to design for failures too“. I can’t remember where I caught this phase but obviously, it makes sense. This is also why we’ve got loads of pop-up error messages, data validation for forms, exception handlers and those shits altogether.

So now let’s think about the application of this in real life.

1. Think of a company as a product, staff as users. Is your company designed in such a way that it can handle your staff’s failures?

2. Think of your life as an application, you yourself as a user. Are you designed to handle your own failure?

I’m still pondering on (1).

For (2), I was intrigued by a talk with a friend recently. He was telling me he’s having mid-life crisis and lost and doesn’t know what to do. I told him if he doesn’t like what he’s doing, try to change it; take a break, go on a trip or something. Basically, just change the status quo as problems ain’t gonna be solved themselves. He said if there’s anything he should do, he should have done it earlier when he was younger. What he said has got me thinking: so you can’t take failures now. In fact, was he designed himself or his life for failures? Am I designed myself or my life to take any failures? What am I gonna do if my experience with my life is not very pleasant? What if whoever steps into my life (other users) also find the experience unpleasant? Can I handle people’s disapproval, disappointment, disagreement, conflict or any other negativity?

Anyway, getting out of the whole mess of these questions and confusion, I’m settled with the mindset that if there’s any mistake we should take and learn from, we should take those now. It’s never gonna be too late.


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