Thursday, September 13, 2012

Living in Abstractions

We live in a world of abstractions. Everyday we take for granted the thought and care that has gone into our best experiences. We turn on the car, the faucet, or the computer, and don't give a second thought to its function unless it fails to do so.

For the designer of user experiences, it is imperative to understand the abstractions we live in, to embrace them, and to understand that every interface we design abstracts the user away from the technology underneath it.

In that regard, we reduce the need for unnecessary knowledge, and focus the user on the knowledge they have. We are not there to reduce their abstraction point. Thus we stand in the fog between use and understanding, at the point of abstraction in which the beautiful becomes useful, and the elegant goes unnoticed because it simply makes sense.

The point of abstraction for your user is the point where what they're doing makes sense to them, and to the system they are working in. Embrace your role as a builder of abstractions, for you must understand both the system and the psyche within them.

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