Department Blog

H/SS & Gov Info Services

Living With Complexity

I’m reading Donald A. Norman’s Living with Complexity, a book about technology and design, and came across this description of a design consultant’s work. It seemed to me an apt way of thinking about reference service and what distinguishes it from information delivery.

Never solve the problem the client has asked you to solve. Why? Because the client is usually responding to the symptoms. The first job of the designer, sometimes the hardest part of the entire task, is to discover what the underlying problem is, what problem really needs to be solved.

One Response to “Living With Complexity”

  1. mfwinter says:

    This is why you can use a software-guided mechanism to deliver information according to stated criteria–but not to solve a problem.

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