Design is always context-specific

Giff Constable Aprizi, design, ecommerce

I’ve had an interesting couple of days here at Altimeter’s “Rise of Social Commerce” conference. It was great being in the startup showcase with some cool companies like Swipely, Quorus, Open Sky, and 8 others. There have also been lots of case studies from bigger companies trying to make sense of “social commerce”.  The diversity of what I have been seeing and hearing only reinforces my belief that you simply cannot get religious about design. Your tools and approach are completely dependent on the problem you want to solve and the categories in which you focus.

To give an example, I think Swipely is doing some really neat stuff around friends and restaurants. At Aprizi, so many of our design decisions went in a *completely* different direction. Our context was totally different. We are obsessed with design and style-centric products. The problem we care most about solving is discovery of smaller businesses. The tools and experiences we have designed are thus completely different.

Some people turn everything into nails because they hold a hammer.  Others get into deep arguments over tactics like conversations or game dynamics etc ad nauseum.  When you dig into these debates, you often realize that both sides are right — they just happen to be working off of completely different contexts and data points.