People acquire different types of knowledge over time through experience or education. People can know facts, information, as well as skills. Facts are anything that is proven to be true, such as the measured circumference of the Earth. Information is news or knowledge that has been received or given about something. A person can know how to complete an activity; in other words, they know a skill. People apply their knowledge when they use a product, service, or system. The experience of using a design outcome can vary depending on the breadth or depth of a person’s knowledge. If a person has extensive knowledge of Apple’s iOS operating system but has to use a smartphone using the Android Operating System, their lack of expertise will likely cause many frustrations when navigating the device.
Designers should be careful when assuming some knowledge is superior to others. Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) can be as advanced and useful as modern scientific knowledge, even though TEK may seem culturally-based and may lack mathematical rigor.