1. The art or profession of visual communication dealing mainly with the solving of “First World Problems”.
In the context of the Third World this seems like a joke. I’m sure if I explained my job to some kid in a remote village deep in the jungles of the Amazon he would laugh at me. It is a little funny that I am able to provide for myself by fixing people’s minor inconveniences.
In the context of the first world though my job (hopefully) does make sense. The world is speeding up and everyone is looking for ways to streamline their lives. Resulting in everyone starting to notice the minor inconveniences that are quickly stacking up against them and now they want them to be fixed. We are all being assisted by technology every day and as a result people have come to expect these technologies to work for them when they are in need.
I have faint memories from my childhood of my parents arguing over the family computer. My mom claimed magic was the reason the computer decided to start working whenever my dad needed to use it when it hadn’t worked for her just minutes previous. As soon as my mom so much as glanced in it’s general direction it was as if the computer had a personal vendetta against her for past crimes against technology. At least you would think so by how visibly upset she was with this seemingly inanimate object.
I think we can all think back at some point in our lives where we’ve felt genuine emotional distress due to technology failing us when we needed it most. If we just stepped back and looked at it in a different context we would be able to breathe and realize it’s not the end of life as we know it…
…but judging from the staggering number of negative reviews that have been posted on the internet since it’s birth, it is very clear that we do not live in a logical society. Which brings me to the point of this blog post…
Context as an idea is large and abstract. Every individual and group has their own overlapping contexts; some with similar goals, some with contradicting goals. Let me put this in context. When designing an ad it’s best to determine the context of where this ad is going to be displayed before starting on it. Sometimes even between different instagram pages. When we first started advertising for The Revv we were doing it through pages that hadn’t ever advertised through their pages before and they were understandably pretty apprehensive about scaring away their followers. We had to change our strategy up a bit and make our advertisements seem more native to their respective pages. So we ended up with multiple designs for multiple pages because that’s what our advertisers wanted.
When it comes to designing we always need to be aware of the millions of different contexts that our designs will be viewed inside daily. We don’t need to plan for every context of course because we do not have the time but we do need to always be aware that these contexts do exist and will affect how situations are viewed or handled. This has been extremely obvious to me in my own failings to recognize this. I’ve handed off designs to developers only to be rewarded with 20 questions due to my failure to see the design from other contexts other than my own. I didn’t think every part through and it caused inefficiencies in the design process. We should always be rethinking our process and finding a way that works for everyone. This is especially true for start ups whose entire life cycle depends on the efficiency of it’s employees and the ability to adapt quickly.
In another instance we started advertising on Instagram pages who had never posted a single advertisement before and were a little apprehensive due to the uncertainty the situation. We ended up creating very subtle personalized ads for these accounts that fit in with the rest of their content. Some cases proved fruitful while others no so much but this was the situation that first made me realize how infrequently I step back and view the whole picture. We’re always breaking large projects down into individual tasks to allow us to not get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things there are to do. It can have it’s drawbacks though if you’re not paying attention.
When I was designing the web portal for all the apps I designed it in 3 main sizes; mobile, tablet and desktop. You’d be surprised at the number of times I designed something on desktop only to realize that mobile devices don’t have the same functionality. Back to the drawing board when it all could’ve been avoided by designing in the context of the 3 designs at once.
But you shouldn’t just take my word for any of this because this is only taken in the context of me learning things individually through mistakes. Take what you think can work for you and write your own blog post on what you’ve learned for yourself. Your own context is ever-changing and only you can determine what needs to change to remove the inefficiencies.