Sunday, October 15, 2006

Different Context, Different Design

Is functionality the sole of design? ...

"In The Most Frustrating Thing, Matt Mullenweg, who helped create the Wordpress software that runs this site, is frustrated about our geeky fascination with technology and design. So frustrated, in fact, that he claims they don’t matter:

“Technology doesn’t matter. Design doesn’t matter.”

Later, he refines:

“Of course design matters. Technology matters. But they have no causal relationship with success any more than the color of a logo does. Don’t focus on the wrong thing!” (my emphasis)

Mullenweg’s point, which is a good one, is that most of what we know about design and technology is generalized to the point that we can’t be successful without something else. We know that something needs to be usable, but what exactly does that mean in relationship to our product? We know that contrast is important in design, but how much and when and how? We know that we should write in the user’s language, but what exactly does that mean?

These principles of design are important, but only in the sense that we know what we must manipulate for success. The design itself will determine how we manipulate them. How we manipulate the principles determines whether or not people use the design. The best we can say is something like: “contrast helps us deliver a clearer message”…we don’t know how much contrast will be necessary until we examine the message, or the actual screen where we deliver our message. We know that contrast is important, that’s been generalized very well, but that’s all we know until we start getting into the nitty gritty details of our unique project."    (Continued via Bokardo)    [Usability Resources]


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