August 07, 2002

Hey scarecrow, use your brain
Erin Malone reminds us that tools are just tools, what's important is designing & building the right product/solution.

"Solving the problem will come from a deep understanding of the issues, of the users’ needs, of the task—from research, from analytical thinking and then sketching out solutions. Sketching these solutions can be done in any way—on a whiteboard, on paper with (gasp) a pen or pencil, or on the computer with the tool of choice.

"My concern and angst over these types of discussions, as well as the kind of proclamations that Nielsen and other gurus make, is that focusing on the tool—either finding the right tool or badmouthing the perceived “wrong” tool—moves our energies away from the real problem at hand: design solutions that are inappropriately or poorly executed."

You can extend Erin's argument to usability methods and research as well -- in effect, they are tools and only have value in what we can apply them to -- what they help us build -- whether it's a web site or knowledge.

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