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Human Centered Design & Visual Communication – A Transdisciplinary approach

Authored by: Karen Pretorius

In the light of global technological and social connectedness, competitive practice in the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) requires industries to address both the need for technological proficiency and the need to embrace a human-centered approach to service delivery. Other than technical upskilling, there is a demand for the inclusion of upskilling in human-centered skills. In a 2020 article: Skills for the Digital Era, Dr. Renate Strazdina mentions in agreement with the World Economic Forum (Future of Jobs survey 2018) the need for the inclusion of human-centered upskilling:

“Proficiency in new technologies is only one part of the 2022 skills equation, however, as ‘human’ skills such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion, and negotiation will likewise retain or increase their value, as will attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving. Emotional intelligence, leadership, and social influence, as well as service orientation, also see an outsized increase in demand relative to their current prominence”.  (Strazdina, 2020).

In the global 4IR environment, with the heightened need for articulate communication between industries; disciplines; cultures; nationalities and language groups, the Visual Communication Design processes and methods can be adopted into other professions to augment communication with technical, social, and economic needs and challenges.  Transdisciplinary research addresses complex social concerns. The Visual communication and design profession, according to (Margolin, 2011) should offer an exchange of knowledge to be included in course material across programs. The discipline of Visual communication can share knowledge from a design perspective with other industries by introducing design processes as thinking processes and creative problem-solving techniques.

Human-centered design research and collaboration.

To have a competitive edge, industries must be able to communicate valuable information in a complex global environment. The cultivation of visual techniques and clear semiotic applications may facilitate communication, persuade consumers and encourage positive social behavior (Margolin, 2011).

Blumberg 2020, suggests that the keenness for technical possibility in an age of information technology may result in a loss of understanding of customer and employee needs. She (Blumberg) opines that “human-centered design brings both to the forefront, enabling designers to address them through solutions in the shortest possible time, while also enabling them to adjust solutions ongoing to achieve the highest possible customer and employee satisfaction” (Blumberg, 2020).

The problem-solving tools designers use may assist other industries to develop strategies conducive to the production of human-centered products and services as it is based on innovative problem solving and observed needs of people, keeping the end-user in mind.

Human-centered design research and collaboration.

To have a competitive edge, industries must be able to communicate valuable information in a complex global environment. The cultivation of visual techniques and clear semiotic applications may facilitate communication, persuade consumers and encourage positive social behavior (Margolin, 2011).

Blumberg 2020, suggests that the keenness for technical possibility in an age of information technology may result in a loss of understanding of customer and employee needs. She (Blumberg) opines that “human-centered design brings both to the forefront, enabling designers to address them through solutions in the shortest possible time, while also enabling them to adjust solutions ongoing to achieve the highest possible customer and employee satisfaction” (Blumberg, 2020).

The problem-solving tools designers use may assist other industries to develop strategies conducive to the production of human-centered products and services as it is based on innovative problem solving and observed needs of people, keeping the end-user in mind.

In a transdisciplinary (TD) research exploratory training workshop, offered by Rhodes University’s Centre for Postgraduate studies in 2016, (Rhodes University, 2016) participants and facilitators concluded that TD research principles encourage the notions of; layered realities, societal inclusiveness, humility, holism, ethical awareness, fluidity, balance, new knowledge systems, and reflexivity. This is also relevant to the workplace.

Contextual qualitative research methods, such as conducting fieldwork, engaging with industry role players, clients, and the community (local and global), may lead to empathetic, ethical, innovative, and sustainable solutions (Rogal 2011).

The design process is a non-linear process of research and discovery, exploring multiple solutions to a problem. It takes the diverse aspect of the community into account and may serve as a framework for research-based on problem-solving methods and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Sources:

Pido,O. 2011. The grand cohesion: using VisComm design to hold it all together. ICOGRADA Design Education Manifesto. EdiVulpinari, O. Available at: https://www.ico-d.org/resources/design-education-manifesto. Accessed on June 2020.

Rogal, M. 2011. Positioning communication design. ICOGRADA Design Education Manifesto. EdiVulpinari, O. Available at: https://www.ico-d.org/resources/design-education-manifesto. Accessed on: June 2020.

Strazdina, R. 2020. Skills for the digital era. Available at: https://news.microsoft.com/en-cee/2020/08/26/skills-for-the-digital-era/. Acessed on 2 August.2020.

Triggs, T. 2011.The future of design education —Graphic design and critical practices: informing curricula. ICOGRADA Design Education Manifesto. EdiVulpinari, O. Available at: https://www.ico-d.org/resources/design-education-manifesto. Accessed on: June 2020.

Vukic, F.2011. Design for tomorrow? ICOGRADA Design Education Manifesto. EdiVulpinari, O. Available at: https://www.ico-d.org/resources/design-education-manifesto. Accessed on: June 2020.

https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2018