Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Lifecycle of Design: Part 1

Changing design decisions over the life of a product ...

"This past June, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Joshua Porter for the User Interface 11 conference. Following the interview we got to talking about how the role of design tends to change as products mature. Before long we had quite a compelling dialogue on our hands. Rather than keep it all to ourselves, we decided to invite you all to participate in the discussion:

Joshua Porter
While I was working on the questions for my interview with you (as a speaker for the User Interface Conference) I became newly interested in the theory of visual design. In particular, what is the relationship between visual design and the overall success of a product? Surely we are all affected by visuals, but how much? When? and Why? Are there times when visuals are more important/less important? The recent success of so-called "ugly" sites like MySpace, Craigslist, and Google suggest that there are times when visuals are more important than at other times.

These sites, however, are all relatively new. So is that a coincidence that many of the new success stories are ugly, or is there some relationship here?

So let's talk about visual design in terms of the product/design lifecycle. (Your writing has very much influenced my thinking on this.) When I was looking specifically at the issue of how sites can be successful while having poor/mediocre visual design it occurred to me that it might have something to do with where they are in their lifecycle:
- Introduction
- Growth
- Maturity
- Decline"   (Continued via Functioning Form)    [Usability Resources]

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