Editor's Note: A modified version of this article was originally published on April 12, 2010.
The first week of the fall semester at CCAD is over. In my first lecture, I talked about the value of design, and how important it is for students to understand why their profession matters.
By and large, the design decisions we make on a daily basis are informed by disciplines like human factors and cognitive psychology and can directly impact our ability to interact and engage with our audiences. The ability to craft successful experiences by utilizing this knowledge is where the value of design is readily apparent.
Design engages at an emotional level, it can help to ensure that the path of acquiring information, or using a product or service, is as easy, intuitive and successful as possible, and can provide novel solutions to problems by offering a framework through which resolutions can become apparent.
From these overarching ideas, we can distill down a set of guiding principles that act as the core tenets of a design strategy and frame and support creative practices, regardless of media or medium.
1. Enhance Desirability
Attractive things inherently work better and make it easier for people to find solutions to the problems they encounter.
2. Establish Relationships
Providing intuitive interactions for short-term relationships, and rich experiences for long-term ones, can effectively enhance audience retention.
3. Encourage Interaction
Consistent, expected interactions not only support a more successful experience but also encourage the possibility of future experiences.
4. Build trust
Adherence to design principles that enhance understanding, awareness and control will help to establish a sense of trust and give our products and services integrity and reliability.
Allowing a design process to explore multiple alternatives simultaneously increases the chances of devising a better solution to any problem. By taking a more iterative approach to our daily design methodology we can effectively hone in on the most desirable and useful design.
One of the most useful books in this endeavor is Don Norman's Emotional Design. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to advance their design strategy.