End-user

Misplacing Ski Lifts

The earliest chairlifts were placed in the most concave part of a ski run. It made sense that the lift should take the most accessible and unobstructed line up the mountain. Once at the top, the chairlift rider became a skier and influenced by gravity and other natural forces headed towards these low points. It was thought that skiers would seek out the ridgeline and convex portions of a slope. The lifts and skier were quickly occupying the same valuable space on primitive ski runs. Quickly, it was determined that ski lifts should be constructed on the less desirable skiing terrain. 

If we understand the tendencies of the end-user, we might design a solution for their challenges. If we accommodate the design over the user, then we are likely to create more disruptions.

End-User

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When we forget about the end-user, our design is likely to be flawed.  We no longer ask the right questions and adopt an empathetic mindset.  If we build a trail, open to hikers, bikers, and equestrians but leave overhanging boulders and rock slabs that cannot accommodate a horse and rider, we are saying ‘this is not really for you.’  The design may have been intended as accessible for multiple user groups, but the construction crew was not thinking about one of the user groups when they built the trail.

How might we avoid building for an end-user but forget to hold their needs above ours?  What is convenient during planning and construction might result in unnecessary barriers and frustration for the user.