Want Magazine Will Help Us Learn How Designers Think

I had seen the advance announcements about Want Magazine, and was eagerly looking forward to the debut of issue one (a/k/a Release 001). Now we can all read Want Magazine. The first issue became available just recently. Want Magazine looks like it will be a valuable learning source for those of us who want to better understand how designers think and what drives their creativity and creation. It appears that the format – and who knows just exactly how Want will evolve – is recorded interviews with a rich mix of designers. Each interview is posted with text notes from the interviewer – which is helpful if you don’t have time to watch the interview and want to know the key takeaways. According to its mission statement here’s what we can expect:

What makes our magazine unique is that we are willing to take an apparently mundane occurrence, and celebrate it. We do not take experiences for granted. We trust them to instill change, to have the power to transform, to improve lives and the lives of others. First and foremost, we intend to celebrate the makers of experience –those who devote their full time, energy and passion to making memorable moments and positive feelings. Among these people, we highlight the professionals in the field of User Experience Design. Their discipline is purposely centered on the research, planning and execution of strategies, activities and results that bring purpose to users of products, interactions and places.

The chief problem of Want is that I’ll never find the time to view all the great interviews. I’ve taken a look at the ones with Peter Merholz, Don Norman and Cordell Ratzlaff – and all were well worth the time. I hope to get back to check out a few more of the interviews. I think Norman has some profound thoughts about why people become enthusiastic about complex systems and the process by which that happens. I also like Ratzlaff’s view of what user experience is:

I think it encompasses the entire relationship that a person has with the device or product or application that they’re using. That includes the functionality of the device. It includes the physical relationship between the person and the product. And it includes the emotional relationship. It also encompasses every touch point between the person and the product.

What both Norman and Ratzlaff have to say strikes me as directly related to the library experience – or rather what we need to do to design a better one. There needs to be an emotional attachment and an emotional relationship. I see this in the students who win our library research prize. They are incredibly passionate about their research, and they’ve formed strong attachments with our collection and librarians. I recommend that you sign up for updates from Want Magazine. If you want to learn more about user experience, or even just want to understand it a little better, then take a closer look.

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