Making Use

by John Carroll

This book offers one of the most lucid and insightful treatments of design and design scenarios I have ever read. Curious, since Carroll is not a designer but a software engineer. The book begins with a general discussion of the “wicked” nature of design problems and how scenarios are uniquely helpful in keeping the wickedness in check. Unfortunately Carroll then jumps quickly into case studies of excruciatingly fine technical detail. The seemingly endless stream of ancient and arcane programming trivia and irrelevant pedagogical tangents nearly derails the entire work.

I have actually attempted to read this book on four separate occasions, and each time I found myself stymied by the sheer mass of pointless detail. This last time, however, I decided that if I didn’t find something valuable in the first 5 pages of a chapter I would skip that entire chapter. I guess this means technically, I haven’t really read the entire book. But it allowed me to finally get through it.

Fortunately the last few chapters pick up where the first leave off. These last chapters provide a deeper analysis of design scenarios’ dynamics and how to effectively use them to better open up the design process.

Just as About Face 2.0 provides the intellectual foundation for the creation and use of design persona, Making Use does the same for design scenarios. Also similar to About Face 2.0, Making Use is an ultimately flawed but irreplaceable resource for developing the necessary theoretical and practical foundation for using narrative as a problem solving or design tool .

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