Mike Monteiro on Edge Cases

A designer does not believe in edge cases.

When you decide who you’re designing for, you’re making an implicit statement about who you’re not designing for. For years we referred to people who weren’t crucial to our products’ success as “edge cases”. We were marginalizing people. And we were making a decision that there were people in the world whose problems weren’t worth solving.

Mike gave a talk to UX Copenhagen about the responsibilities designers have to their world and their communities of users. This statement (which appeared both in that talk and in the article Mike wrote on the same subject) really jumped out at me.

I haven’t always liked everything Mike had to say, or the approaches he took on certain things, but two things I always bear in mind when it comes to him and his work:

  1. When he’s right, he’s right, and he typically hits the nail square on the head.
  2. He’s willing to walk just as much as he is to talk. When he was so angry at Twitter for their inability/unwillingness to self-govern and properly moderate their platform, he did what many people in his line of work wouldn’t dream of doing: he left.

The other item he mentioned in that same talk: design things like you might someday be subject to them. It’s a good talk and Mike takes his time and delivers it very well.