DESIGN, ART, GADGETS, FASHION, AND SAFEWAY

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Once Upon a Time

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Great design isn't just about making something pretty (though it does help). Great design is telling a good story. A story that people can relate to. And more often than not, the more timeless, well-articulated, and engaging that story, the better the overall experience.

My approach:
1) Define the problem space. John Dewey always said, "A well-defined problem is half solved." Once the problem is defined, research should be conducted - ranging from interviews, surveys, focus groups, ethnography, artifact analysis, or alternative methods. Scenarios and personas are developed based on the new found knowledge from the user research. Immersing yourself in the needs of the user is the only way to truly understanding the goal.
2) Design with inspiration, creativity and passion. My design process tends to start with a sketch or a photography. Something I've become inspired by. Something different. Once I become inspired by an idea, I'll take it to the whiteboard - concepting and ideating until the there's literally not a single spot left to write. Only then, does low-fidelity prototyping come into play.
3) Test in situ, or in the situation of where the product will be used. I always tell the user, "We're not testing you, we're testing the design." Listening to the user is just as important as collecting legitimate data by ensuring their subjective desires, expectations, and reactions are genuine. From these observations, one can gain insights to the flaws and great aspects of any design.
4) Iterate once, twice, or even a hundred times. An iterative cycle in the design process allows for constant critique of the design based on user-testing, collaborative evaluations, and market feedback. Expand and contract; there's always room for improvement and refinement.
5) Deliver the product. No product life cycle is forever. Nor is there such thing as "the" perfect design. However, there is "a" perfect design; one that answers the problem at hand and deliver an experience that is engaging, memorable, and ultimately fulfilling.

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