Thinking about Design


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An introduction to design and what design is really about

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  • Bas, thanks for the presentation. I'll use it on my classes.
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  • @TU Dresden: Yes indeed, you may use this presentation and the slides. That's why I posted it, to share it with others ;-)
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  • Hello Bas,

    wonderful presentation. Thanks.
    May I use your slides in a design course at the TU Dresden ?
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Thinking about Design

  1. 1. Hogeschool Rotterdam Communication & Multimedia Design UXD Minor Thinking about Design An introduction to design and what design is really about Bas Leurs february 15, 2010
  2. 2. So, you want to be a designer? Officia l Dress Designers code
  3. 3. The real secret about designers...
  4. 4. This is design what real ers we ar at n ight
  5. 5. KABK - The Hague Royal Academy of Fine Arts Graphic & Typographic Design 1992-1996
  6. 6. What’s good about art school? It’s one big laboratory One quote from one of my teachers “That you will fail is inevitable, so when you do fail... you’d better fail hard!” laboratory
  7. 7. According to most design educators (at art schools): design is a mystery, and it should remain a mystery. hans kazan
  8. 8. When uneducated amateurs start designing, this world becomes a post-apocalyptic place. But this ‘romantic’ perspective leads to a problem... apocalypse
  9. 9. Taxonomy of Visual Design Visual perception Ergonomics By Bas Leurs (, version 0.3 (january 12, 2010) Aesthetics Ergonomics Rhetorics Readibility Critics Philosophy Legibility Semiotics Gestalt Models Communication Dots Lines Textures Temperature Psychology Opacity Intensity Perception Organic Tint Affordances Theory Colour History Forms Forms Subtractive Websites Geometric Random Style Additive Digital Desktop Signage Wayfinding Type design Mobile Games Dataviz Grid systems User interfaces Information Maps Typography Information graphics Content Photographs Elements Newspapers Illustrations Media Editorial Images Books Metaphors Artefacts Magazines Icons Symbols Idioms Pictograms Layout Visual Design Logo Posters Promotion Format Horizontal Identity Brochures Ads Grid Vertical Composition Style guide Baseline Golden section Branding Subtract Inversion Abstraction Sketching Analog Methods Tools Deduction Addition Induction Divergence Principles Convergence Conceptual Contrast Modularity Symmetry Photoshop Consistency Asymmetry Scale Digital System Emphasis Proportion Indesign Coherency Hierarchy Transformation Illustrator Balance Abstraction Flexibility Rotation Structure Cropping Repitiion Rythm Grouping Negative space Juxaposition
  10. 10. But design isn’t just aesthetics...
  11. 11. What is ‘design’ anyways?...
  12. 12. Noun, verb, process and product?
  13. 13. Decision making in the face of uncertainty, with high penalties for error Asimow, 1962 The imaginative jump from present facts to future possibilies Page, 1966 Design is the practical application of science, art and creativity to create something useful and attractive Beltagui, et al (2008)
  14. 14. “All one can say with certainty is that society, or the world, is not the same as it was before the new design appeared.” John Chris Jones Design Methods Seeds of human future 1970
  15. 15. Products Transportation Public But there is alsoBuildings the ultimate definition... Services Opinions Communication Processes Institutions systems Design is to Urban Laws initiate change in areas man-made things Festivities Markets Interfaces Social Experiences Brands networks Food The ultimate definition of design by John C. Jones (1970)
  16. 16. Think about the effects of your decisions Immediate Short term Long term
  17. 17. “If we can design our way into difficulty, we can design our way out.” John Thackara (In the Bubble, 2005) trafic jam smog
  18. 18. toyota prius
  19. 19. If your design needs to be futureproof, then make it extremely simple
  20. 20. Design bricks, not houses
  21. 21. Why not build cathedrals anymore? Look ahead, and think about how things are after three generations. sagrada familia lego
  22. 22. Apparently, the future is what makes design so complicated... But the real problem with design, is the problem itself...
  23. 23. Design problems are In design ‘perfect’ solutions do not multidimensional, highly exist. Simply because we do not interactive, ill-structered... also know what the perfect solution is. refered to as ‘wicked’ problems Lawson
  24. 24. The problem- and solution space are interwoven. Solution conjectures are helpful to explore and understand the problemspace A design is never finished!
  25. 25. Scientists versus Designers problem focused solution focused
  26. 26. Problem- and solutionspaces deconstructed
  27. 27. Design solutions can never be perfect and are often more easily criticised than created. Bryan Lawson (2006)
  28. 28. To summarise the previous 5 slides Overall problem Overall solution Sub-problems Sub-solutions
  29. 29. Generally speaking, it seems that the nearer you get to finishing a design the more accurately you are able to estimate how much work remains to be done. Bryan Lawson (2006) why h at is s start So t alway you days ect w j a fe re a pro befo s to be d nee hed! finis
  30. 30. I have a confession to make... We were mistaken...
  31. 31. This is what we have taught you...
  32. 32. This is what I use to do... (first iteration)
  33. 33. This is how my design proces looks like... kind of...
  34. 34. But bear this in mind... Iterate often Be a harsh critic to your work But also dare to fail Reject (early) solutions when you discover them to be fundamentally flawed Be open to surprises Love what you’re doing...
  35. 35. So... what to design? Models of User Experience Design
  36. 36. The Elements of User Experience Jesse James Garrett A basic duality: The Web was originally conceived as a hypertextual information space; 30 March 2000 but the development of increasingly sophisticated front- and back-end technologies has fostered its use as a remote software interface. This dual nature has led to much confusion, as user experience practitioners have attempted to adapt their terminology to cases beyond the scope of its original application. The goal of this document is to define some of these terms within their appropriate contexts, and to clarify the underlying relationships among these various elements. Web as software interface Concrete Completion Web as hypertext system Visual Design: visual treatment of text, Visual Design: graphic treatment of interface elements (the "look" in "look-and-feel") Visual Design graphic page elements and navigational components Interface Design: as in traditional HCI: Navigation Design: design of interface design of interface elements to facilitate elements to facilitate the user's movement user interaction with functionality Interface Design Navigation Design through the information architecture Information Design: in the Tuftean sense: designing the presentation of information Information Design Information Design: in the Tuftean sense: designing the presentation of information to facilitate understanding to facilitate understanding Interaction Design: development of Interaction Information Information Architecture: structural design time application flows to facilitate user tasks, defining how the user interacts with Design Architecture of the information space to facilitate intuitive access to content site functionality Functional Specifications: "feature set": detailed descriptions of functionality the site Functional Content Content Requirements: definition of content elements required in the site must include in order to meet user needs Specifications Requirements in order to meet user needs User Needs: externally derived goals User Needs: externally derived goals for the site; identified through user research, ethno/techno/psychographics, etc. User Needs for the site; identified through user research, ethno/techno/psychographics, etc. Site Objectives: business, creative, or other internally derived goals for the site Site Objectives Site Objectives: business, creative, or other internally derived goals for the site task-oriented Abstract Conception information-oriented This picture is incomplete: The model outlined here does not account for secondary considerations (such as those arising during technical or content development) that may influence decisions during user experience development. Also, this model does not describe a development process, nor does it define roles within a user experience development team. Rather, it seeks to define the key considerations that go into the development of user experience on the Web today. © 2000 Jesse James Garrett
  37. 37. The problem with Garrett’s model? It’s information oriented What about tasks (ATM), and immersion (games)?
  38. 38. sen ign) rg e Ol by Des Geo action r (Inte
  39. 39. e enc peri rding r Ex Use gn acco r i Des n Saffe a to D
  40. 40. Intangible Symbolic Functional Expressive Rational, objective Emotive, subjective Physical Tangible
  41. 41. Intangible Symbolic Functional Expressive High penalty for errors Low penalty for errors Rational, objective Emotive, subjective Physical Tangible
  42. 42. Intangible Symbolic Cognitive science Semiotics Visual arts Ergonomics Branding Functional Expressive Rational, objective Emotive, subjective Layout of a factory Interior design Craftwork Industrial components Physical Sculptures Tangible
  43. 43. Intangible Symbolic Functional Rational, objective UXD @CMD Expressive Emotive, subjective Physical Tangible
  44. 44. Intangible Symbolic Social networks Functional Rational, objective UXD Office applications Interactive environments Expressive Emotive, subjective Tangible interaction Physical Tangible
  45. 45. humans IN TE RACT I O N TE GY CH LO NO NO LO TECH GY N human IO IN CT TE E RA RA CT I NT IO N TECH NOLOGY products / artefacts / environments brands / organisations / companies
  46. 46. social sciences social interaction communication theory social networks social cohesion co-creation humans INT ER ACTIO N TE GY CH LO NO NO LO TECH GY (visual) interface design N human IN IO TE service design CT RA RA design research CT interaction design TE IO brand management IN N information design NOLOGY TECH experience design information architecture brand experience products / artefacts / environments brands / organisations / companies brand design human factors usability engineering corporate identities
  47. 47. So, you (still) want to be a designer?
  48. 48. As a designer, it’s important to... Be creative Be curious Have empathy (for your users) Be a harsh critic to yourself and other designers Use your imagination (sketching, scenario’s) at-if ’ sce na rio’s ‘Wh Rely on your gut feeling
  49. 49. Need to know more? Check these books... Design Methods Designerly ways of knowing Engineering Design Methods John C. Jones Nigel Cross Nigel Cross How Designers Thnk Understanding Design What Designers Know Bryan Lawson Kees Dorst Bryan Lawson Find more on my Shelfari:
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