What personal qualities make a good interaction designer?

“Enough confidence to believe you can solve any design problem and enough humility to understand that most of your initial ideas are probably bad. Enough humility to listen to ideas from other people that may be better than your own and enough confidence to understand that going with other people’s ideas does not diminish your value as a designer. True concern for the comfort and happiness of other people, including your users and your teammates.” - Larry Tesler in Designing for Interaction by Dan Saffer on what makes a good interaction designer

“Enough confidence to believe you can solve any design problem and enough humility to understand that most of your initial ideas are probably bad. Enough humility to listen to ideas from other people that may be better than your own and enough confidence to understand that going with other people’s ideas does not diminish your value as a designer. True concern for the comfort and happiness of other people, including your users and your teammates.” – Larry Tesler in Designing for Interaction by Dan Saffer on what makes a good interaction designer

Read more from Larry Tesler on the qualities of a good interaction designer or more on “creating smart applications and clever Devices” in Dan’s book Designing for Interaction.

Catriona Cornett

I am a User Experience Designer with a passion for making people’s lives better through design. I have helped over a dozen organizations obtain a competitive advantage by delivering great user experiences across desktop, mobile, tablet and other channels.

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  • Dan Evans

    I think it’s difficult to balance humility with expertise. I agree that having the humility to listen to and implement the ideas of others is important. Sometimes a designer also has to tell their clients, customers, users “no”. If they don’t then it can become design by committee and will not necessarily address any one concern very well. Knowing when to submit and when to overrule is the real challenge I see here.

  • http://www.love-umbria.com/group-tours.html Love Umbria

    Without humility interaction design can only be great by accident -no matter how much confidence there is.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidPRoyer David Royer

    I think Larry nails the humility / confidence thing.  

    I would say the confidence to incorporate other people’s ideas actually increases your value as a designer.  Great ideas come from everywhere and the ability to recognize great ideas and work them in to a holistic design is one of the most valuable skills a designer can have.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidPRoyer David Royer

     I think Larry nails the humility / confidence thing.  
    I would say the confidence to incorporate other people’s ideas actually increases your value as a designer.  Great ideas come from everywhere and the ability to recognize great ideas and work them in to a holistic design is one of the most valuable skills a designer can have

5 Responses to What personal qualities make a good interaction designer?

  1. [...] Today’s item got me thinking: “Enough confidence to believe you can solve any design problem and enough humility to understand that most of your initial ideas are probably bad. Enough humility to listen to ideas from other people that may be better than your own and enough confidence to understand that going with other people’s ideas does not diminish your value as a designer. True concern for the comfort and happiness of other people, including your users and your teammates.” [...]

  2. Dan Evans says:

    I think it’s difficult to balance humility with expertise. I agree that having the humility to listen to and implement the ideas of others is important. Sometimes a designer also has to tell their clients, customers, users “no”. If they don’t then it can become design by committee and will not necessarily address any one concern very well. Knowing when to submit and when to overrule is the real challenge I see here.

  3. Love Umbria says:

    Without humility interaction design can only be great by accident -no matter how much confidence there is.

  4. David Royer says:

    I think Larry nails the humility / confidence thing.  

    I would say the confidence to incorporate other people’s ideas actually increases your value as a designer.  Great ideas come from everywhere and the ability to recognize great ideas and work them in to a holistic design is one of the most valuable skills a designer can have.

  5. David Royer says:

     I think Larry nails the humility / confidence thing.  
    I would say the confidence to incorporate other people’s ideas actually increases your value as a designer.  Great ideas come from everywhere and the ability to recognize great ideas and work them in to a holistic design is one of the most valuable skills a designer can have