Plato’s cave allegory and experience design.

What does Plato’s cave allegory have in common with human centered design ?

It demonstrates the effects of narrow and non-holistic thinking, a phenomenon we can still observe in many organizations – where it sometimes seems that one department doesn’t talk to other departments to get a holistic, cohesive understanding of the customer’s experience and their problems.

„That is someone else’s responsibility“ is often a standard jargon in such organizations. But: in the user’s or customers mental models – meaning how your customers/users think how things work (also called cognitive representations or mental models) – there is only one responsibility, not several based how internal things might work. That means: Customers do not split up responsibilities in department-like silo thinking, like the organisation itself probably does.

So, getting rid of this department-like thinking and instead gaining a holistic understanding of customers and users is key to get an idea of the ways how your customers think, and then put this learnings of your customer’s way of thinking first – not the mapping of the underlying internal business structures and hierachies (or the the underlying tech-backend structure) to the users interface

Everything else will most likely lead to something called silo-thinking and most likely, self-referential design and will most likely have negative effects on the user’s or customer’s experience.

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