As part of a minor org shuffle this week I will no longer be working directly with Benjy. Benjy isnt a showy man, so wouldn't want a fuss, but he is a brilliant writer and his blog is one we should all keep an eye on. With this in mind, I thought it would be appropriate to write a quick post about what Benjy has taught me in our time working together. It puts me in mind that the recording of our shared history is something that is easy to forget to do in the evolution of a team .
So. You wouldn't believe the five things Benjy taught me in our two years working together.
1 - User Centered design isn't a badge you just get given, it is a tattoo you earn. Benjy has informed my thinking around placing the user at the heart of design processes more than anyone else I've worked with. His dedication to doing the right thing by our users isn't a glib statement, it is in the DNA of how he works. It doesn't have short cuts, it is a lot of hard work and it can create more questions than answers. This is all absolutely fine, because the work keeps you honest and in-line with your users' genuine needs
2 - Sweat the small stuff. Like, a lot. Interaction design means iterations, it means failures, it means tiny micro nudges and it never finishes. However, the work keeps you honest and in-line with your users' genuine needs
3 - Work in the open. Not say you work in the open. Not put a sticker on your laptop and go to a conference, I mean build prototyping kits, blog, share, share more and stay humble. Do this because democracy is important and the work keeps you honest and in-line with your users' genuine needs
4 - Every part of your digital service should focus on accessibility. Benjy is an incredible voice in making sure we consider all of our users. Accessibility isn't something that can be bolted on to the side of working processes, or sense checked at the end. It is about the foundations of usability. Keeping this in mind makes sure your work is honest and in-line with genuine users' needs.
5 - you can apply the above to all types of design. You can make graphic design user focused, you can make branding user focused, you can make design a corporate PowerPoint user focused. It keeps your work honest and in-line with genuine users' needs
So thanks Benjy. We will still be working on loads of things together, but I will miss our meetings spent walking around, developing our shared vision for service design, miss talking about how fun it would be to design a bespoke font for published statistics and I will most of all miss building a team with you. The new gang are very lucky to have you