11 October, 2010 – 4:24 am | Filed under commentary, design | No Comments »
You know the show Undercover Boss? The one where a well-known company’s CEO goes undercover and works in entry-level jobs in his company?
It hit me tonight, during the episode about DirecTV, that the show is a public enactment of human-centered user research, and that the CEO is assuming the role of a designer. He (which I use because every episode I’ve seen so far has featured a middle-aged white guy) is trying to ascertain what the issues with his company are by jumping in headfirst and immersing himself in the thick of things, trying to understand how his company actually functions and what actual employees truly face and deal with on a day-to-day basis. He learns about their jobs and them as people, and he empathizes with them as he himself takes on their responsibilities. He then comes out of it and makes changes company-wide that are directly informed by those real-life experiences, both as experienced by him and as related by the people for whom he’s designing/planning.
There are days when my classmates and I wish we could shut this “designy sense” (like “spidey sense”) off and just accept things at face value and “make pretty stuff” again. But this was a cool realization. It’s neat to see a real-life example of these concepts at work in such a prominent way.