Now that you’ve identified what the domain and primary technology are for the project you’re working on, you need to think about how you will gather information. For that, I believe that if you want to learn anything about any domain, technology, process, method, and so on, you must take the time and effort to learn its language.
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name
Learning the terminology, jargon, idioms, slang, and acronyms regularly used within a domain or technology is truly the decryption key to unlocking the knowledge within them. The language creates the scaffolding upon which you will build understanding and insights around processes, workflows, rationale for existing systems, cause-and-effect relationships, and so forth. How else will you effectively communicate with the engineers, scientists, fellow designers, and business people also working on the project if you don’t understand what they’re saying or can’t share your thoughts using words they understand? This mantra is true regardless of whether you’re embarking on a design project for an emerging technology or a mass market product. You need to have the tools to communicate effectively and that means learning the language.
In the case of technology, when I say language, I don’t mean the programming language. I don’t suggest you have to go learn C#, Python, or Java to be able to understand what an emerging technology can do or how it works. Although it’s great if you do happen to know those languages, it’s not a prerequisite to understanding the emerging technology for which you’ll be designing.[—]