Getting down to business
October 9, 2001
Back again but still getting over jet lag (finding out the air strikes had begun just as I'd gotten into my taxi to JFK didn't help) so I'll be brief…

A few weeks ago there was a huge discussion on the SIG-IA list by information architects who were contemplating going back to school to get MBAs so they could better understand business. While that's a whole other discussion, it prompted Jonas Söderström to share this essay from Don Norman about applying the behavioral, cognitive, and social sciences to products.

Among other things, Don says:

"How do we get respect? By becoming leaders. We have to speak the language of business—schedules, profits and loss, sales, and margins. We need to understand why products sell, who buys them, what the distribution channels are. In other words, we need to learn the language of business, of finance, and of marketing. We have to put the system first, not our special skills.

"When engineers do this, they get promoted. They move up to management. MBAs are taught to do this. Those from the [behavioral, cognitive, and social sciences] community must do the same."

While UX needs to keep its focus on user-driven, goal-oriented design, Don's words point out important considerations that we need to be aware of and be willing to address. ::

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