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Uncharted Waters: Why It’s Important to Design for Newcomers

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As design professionals, we must consider design through various lenses to ensure we design for target audiences. If design relies on users’ mental models formed by their own perceptions and past experiences, are we inherently missing a critical lens? What if an experience is altogether new to a user? What if they’re a first-time user, a “newcomer”.

A design lens can work as a mental device for thinking about your design in a different way. It focuses attention on a single design principle, illuminating issues that may have been invisible before.

I was once a newcomer to the United States