What is design?
This is my tl;dr summary of the first lesson of the awesome Hackdesign course.
Good design is...
- makes a product useful
- makes a product understandable
- environmentally friendly
- as little design as possible
The different disciplines of design:
Deals with images, typography, illustrations on different media including print and web. It’s purpose is to be observed.
- Print Design
Graphic Design with restriction to print media. More focused on typography and printing techniques.
- Print Design
Focused on digital products and interactive software. It’s purpose is to satisfy the needs and desires of the product’s users.
- User Interface (UI) Design
The goal of user interface design is to make the user’s interaction as simple and efficient as possible.
- User Experience (UX) Design
The goal of UX design is to create a seamless, simple, and useful interaction between a user and a product, whether it be hardware or software.
- User Interface (UI) Design
Industrial designers create physical products designated for mass-consumption. They study both function and form, and the connection between product, the user, and the environment.
How to see the world like a designer
Discontented observationalism is the designer’s modus operandi.
Design is a constant process driven by the designer’s urge to improve his/her surroundings.
Tips for the transition from development to design
- Don’t stop building things
Design and development are connected and interdependent. Don’t neglect development skills, you’ll need them later (e.g. for prototyping)
Learn design in order of dependency
Don’t try to learn everything simultaneously, do it step-by-step.
The design process can be broken down to these steps that depend on each other:
- Design for reliability (write good code)
- Design for performance (write fast code)
- Design for organization (information architecture and content hierarchy)
- Design for order & structure (interface design/wireframing)
- Design for interaction (translate wireframes into a rich experience)
- Design for aesthetics (visual/motion design)
In the end the goal is to learn to use all these skills concurrently like variables in a equation that are adjusted throughout the entire design process.
- Design everything you do
Your clothing, your room, written and face-to-face communication: Everything you do should have a reason, no matter how small. Design requires constant practice and this is a great way to keep growing.
- Care about your audience
Put your focus on the people your work will affect. If you care about your audience, you’ll automatically care more about the subject.
- Talk about design and listen even more
Discuss with others, ask question and listen. Listening will challenge your preconceptions and push your thinking.
- Learn to write, then learn to speak
When building your philosophy and approaches, formulate them to an audience. In the long termn, try to speak in front of an auience at least once. Communicating the thinking behind your work can be as important as the work itself.
- Focus on defining and solving problems
Do not design for decoration - Designers solve problems. Try to figure out what problems a user can have with your product and solve them.
- Listen to your gut, but trust your brain
Do not follow design trends blindly. Follow your instincts but try to understand your solutions afterwards.
- Be your biggest critic
You’ll never be perfect but you should always try. When in doubt lean towards being too hard on yourself rather than too easy.
- Learn from the time-tested and emulate it
Good design has hold steady over the years. Look at those designs to guide your approach. For software, operating systems are a good role model as they are around a long time.
- Ideate romantically, create pragmatically
Your ideas should be bigger than reality, but our execution should be married to it. This ensures your project can have a future.
Interaction design in a nutshell
Interaction designers are concerned with the interaction between users and computers ("human-computer interaction"). They try to create useful and usable products and services by taking a user-centered approach. They want to understand the user’s goals, tasks, experiences, needs and wants.
In a project team a interaction designer helps to develop a design strategy and does wireframing and prototyping of user interactions.
Concepts of interaction design
- Goal-driven design
Interaction designers should do user research to experience the constraints of their environment.
- "Interface as magic"
The best interface is the one that doesn’t exist because the user naturally knows how to use it. Don’t make the user think and respond quickly.
Usability means the ease with which people employ a tool in order to achieve a particular goal. Interaction designers must learn about the usability of the interfaces they design.
Affordances represent the action possibilities available between an actor and their environment. The interface should directly imply what can be done with it.
Users like things they are familiar with. Rely on common patterns instead of re-inventing the wheel. A list of patterns can be found in the Yahoo Design Pattern Library. If you have to invent a unique solution make sure it’s easily learnable.
- Startups, this is how design works
- Making the Transition from Development to Design—My Experience and Advice
- We’re Not Unhappy, We’re Designers
- Complete Beginner’s Guide to Interaction Design