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Chapter 10. Designing for Power > Goals Are the Reason Why We Perform Tasks

Goals Are the Reason Why We Perform Tasks

Before the digital age confronted us with cognitive friction, design was mostly an aesthetic thing, and one person's opinion on the quality of a given design was as good as anyone else's. Cognitive friction comes with interaction, and interaction is only necessary if there is a purpose, a goal. In this new light, the nature of design changes. The aesthetic component isn't lessened in any way. It is merely diluted by the larger demands of achieving the user's goals. This means that, unlike in earlier times, the quality of design isn't so much a matter of opinion and is much more amenable to systematic analysis. In other words, in the bright light of a user's goals, we can learn quite directly what design would suit the purpose, regardless of anyone's opinion or, for that matter, of aesthetic quality.

“Good interaction design” has meaning only in the context of a person actually using it for some purpose. You cannot have purposes without people. The two are inseparable. That is why the two key elements of our design process are goals and personas—purposes and people.


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