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Giving Design Advice

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1 Author(s)
Wirfs-Brock, R.J. ; Wirfs-Brock Associates

In an ideal world, designers freely seek advice, ask for and offer constructive criticism, and openly discuss issues. They don't take criticism as personal affronts, and they and their managers make intelligent, informed decisions. But in reality, it can be difficult to get others to acknowledge criticism or heed advice. How can you convey the importance of an issue, convince others to take action, or get them to recognize a proposed alternative as the better choice? By becoming aware of some common cognitive biases, you can learn when it's worthwhile to tweak your message to increase the likelihood of its acceptance. Even if people don't always follow your advice, it helps to understand that their negative reactions might have little to do with you (and everything to do with how they naturally process information). Cognitive biases exist, and we designers are remiss if we ignore them. Reframing advice so that people are more likely to follow it isn't sneaky or manipulative-it's common sense. We should employ every device possible so that our information, argumentation, and advice are clearly understood.

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 4 )