Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What is Design? (Yes, all 10 definitions!)

"Design" means different things to different people ...

"When the term design is used it can mean many things, depending on who you are and which conversation you are having. Rarely do people stop to compare 'mental maps' and clarify which type of design they are talking about!

I believe this has to do with the multiple definitions of design and the lack of awareness of each specific type of design, its function and timing in a process. The other factor being how familiar you are with "design" based on your past experiences with different design roles.

Here are some examples of conversations I have and hear frequently that cause to stop and ask "What type of design are we talking here?":

* "We'll take care of that when we get to design"
* "That's something the designer will have to figure out..."
* "We're starting design now..."
* "We're bringing in a designer..."
* "Here are some early design concepts..."
* "This will be decided by the designer"
* "Have you started design yet?"
* "Why are these designs in Latin?"
* "The design looks great!"
* "This isn't the final design, we'll get to that later..."

Since the word "design" means many things to many people, let's define design as seen from a usability consultant's perspective.

Design for the Mind

Design that impacts cognitive processes (fit to the mind) including interpreting and understanding the experience.

#1 User Interface Design: Screen layout and design that focuses on user interactions and screen behaviors. User Interface (UI) design is an important component of user-centered and task-oriented design. The focus of UI Design is to improve the “user experience” or usability of the design. Since the mid 1980's, UI design has refined an understanding of human behavior and screen design. Also called "GUI" design, often confused for combined design and programming (see this post). UI Design is often seen as symbolic of green-screen era interfaces or coding, since developers used to be UI Designers before it was recognized that this was a special skill set..."    (Continued via Demystifying Usability)    [Usability Resources]

Design Wire Frame - Usability, User Interface Design

Design Wire Frame

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