Why this blog?

Right now, I can think of about three reasons for the existence of this blog.

I work as a user experience designer in Cape Town, South Africa. Every day, as I drive to work, or as I stand in a queue, or as I wait for a lift, or as I interact with people in all sorts of different businesses, I become aware of a hundred voices in my head, whispering about how each interaction or moment could have been designed to be better and easier. I want to say that the voices vie for attention, but really, they just kind of vie. I’d like to give those voices a platform.

This blog has something to do with that.

I read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s classic book a while ago. I think the guy was on to something. His theory is that happiness is about feeling absorbed in doing something meaningful and being absorbed in that doing to such an extent, that the world disappears. And once you enter the world again consciously, you are, somehow, a more “complex” being. I’d like to give that theory a go.

This blog has something to do with that, too.

South Africa is an interesting, messy country. Our society is wildly unequal on many levels. Most South Africans are poor, vulnerable and disempowered. They submit themselves to the systems that are put in place for them, and many of those systems suck ass: they’re mind-blowingly inefficient, overly complicated, and sometimes just plain cruel. I don’t think they’ve been intentionally designed to be that way. I think they haven’t been designed at all, in fact. And that’s a problem. I think that, with just a little bit of design thinking, public systems in South Africa can be improved tremendously: saving people time that they can spend in more productive ways. Making people feel a little bit more in control, and less overwhelmed. Ultimately, I think that public systems can be designed in such a way that everyone involved in them, both behind the scenes, at the point of interaction and from a receiving side, can be happier.

This blog has something to do with that, too.

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