Thursday, November 22, 2007

In Defense of Eye Candy

Graphics design contributes to the UX ...

"... Most people get what they see. And what most people see from ‘design’ are pretty pictures. Or bright shiny objects. By presenting this kind of visual design as a by-product of some larger effort, and avoiding the subject all-together, I’m trying to direct folks to view ‘design’ in the sense of something much grander — an approach to framing problems and devising solutions. An approach that works with imperfect data and produces multiple options. An approach that shows empathy for people involved. Design is about so much more than ‘making things look pretty’. I tend to favor Herbert Simon’s description of design as devising “courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.” Design in this more general sense applies to moving pixels around on a screen just as easily as moving people around in an org chart. This more strategic application is the Design I normally discuss.

But enough is enough.

Graphics, eye candy, sexy interfaces— while these aren’t as seemingly strategic as say… Information Architecture, it’s time to stand up for these misunderstand elements. In a mature product space (pdf file), Aesthetics play just as critical a role in business as picking the right server or insuring your data is accurate. Yes, I’m being serious. But here’s the catch—it’s not about shiny buttons or gradient fades in and of themselves. Rather, it’s about “the psychological response to sensory stimulus.” It’s about people. And how people respond to these elements.

If we truly care about making things work for people, then we should care about aesthetics, or the science of “how things are know via the senses.” And it’s much more than graphic design: Sights. Sounds. Smells. Motion. Aesthetics is concerned about all the senses. And I’ll say it again: it’s about how people respond to these elements (and not the elements themselves).

Bottom line? Visual design is more than styling. It is function. And not only because it communicates, but also because it makes us feel. And between feeling and communication, people find things easier to use."    (Continued via poetpainter)    [Usability Resources]

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