Today I did an interview with Civic Quarterly, a publication about transforming government with digital tools & design thinking. Here’s a snip:
AM: The CUTGroup book feels like a great example of “designing in the open,” sharing everything your team’s learned thus far—warts and all. How much of the existing design literature formed the basis of your approach and how much of this grew organically?
The overall concepts of design thinking, code sharing, and iterative development are imbued in the way I’ve approached pretty much everything at Smart Chicago, including the CUTGroup.
DO: When I was first starting out as a worker on the web, I subscribed to an email list for people who were helping create the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that came out in May 1999. The back-and-forth writing was utterly vitriolic but deeply informative and serious. The exchange of ideas and deeply-felt headbutting really astounded me. I appreciated the idea that anyone could (in my case) grab some popcorn and watch something important happen or, in the case of those who decided to help write the standard, get a mitt and get in the game.
I also subscribed to the Alertbox newsletter from Jakob Nielsen in the late “90s and early 2000s and was entranced with Adaptive Path and their writing around Web 2.0/ AJAX/ etc. Based on all that, I’d say our approach is pretty organic. I’ve never read any books on how to do UX testing or design thinking or anything like that.