Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Common Visual Design Misconceptions

Role of visual design ...

"Recently, I had the opportunity to reflect on common misconceptions about the role of visual design that are still prominent in the beliefs of executives, product leaders, engineering managers, and marketing professionals. Is there anything team members can do to illustrate certain beliefs are wrong? What could they do to demonstrate the truth about visual design to coworkers and stakeholders?

Though visual designers might face different hurdles in particular product domains and at different points in their careers, there are three common misconceptions that surface quite frequently:

* Visual design is about making things look pretty.
* Making things pop more can improve visual design.
* It’s possible to evaluate visual design in pieces.

Visual Design Is About Making Things Look Pretty

While few people literally ask a design team to make things look pretty, there is a long-standing assumption that visual design is the icing on the cake. That it’s the last step that puts a bow on the product and makes it look attractive.

Perhaps this belief stems from the general public’s introduction to design during the industrial age. Back then, products began to be styled in ways that had not been possible before, and industrial designers like Raymond Lowey got immense fanfare for their aesthetic approach to designing previously dull products.

While visual design clearly has the capacity to refine a product’s aesthetics, its potential to communicate with people goes beyond good looks. Through the visual organization of elements, designers can communicate core messages to people that answer key questions:

* What is this?
* How do I use it?
* Why should I care?

Answering these questions is a crucial component of both utility and usability, especially in interactive products. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is through an example."    (Continued via UXmatters, Luke Wroblewski)    [Usability Resources]

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