Recently I was in a conversation with researchers about how to design software. One of them wanted the process to ‘be empirical’. Which makes sense, coming from a researcher. However, systems design doesn’t work like this, and in particular, putting the user at the centre of the design process, as I do, is about conversation, not polling (as was suggested).

I was pondering how to convey this if it comes up in the future, and I think one clue is to talk about how, in systems design, the importance is not for all the users to have an ability to input (since the only way to get close to that is via research, polls etc). Rather, it is up for the representative users to know their user-community as best as they can, and that is how we represent other voices. This is how we work, but I’m hoping I can work this thread through a little in my head so I can segue this line of questioning into a more productive space in future.

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