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What is design?

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Design isn't just about creating pretty pictures. It's about meeting basic human needs. In design, we identify problems by finding specific users with specific needs. Then we solve problems by prototyping and testing solutions with the user in their environment.

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What is design?

  1. 1. What is Design? Prof. Lydia Chilton Art of Engineering 18 October 2019 No screens Say your name 1
  2. 2. I teach UI Design (spring) and Advance Web Design Studio (fall)
  3. 3. I’ve been teaching web dev for 10 years 2008-2010 MIT 2016-2017 Stanford 2018-present Columbia
  4. 4. What is design? 4
  5. 5. 5“Design is when things look awesome.”
  6. 6. 6 the perfect gaming chair Hassel free way to keep the room temperature perfect Learn a language in easy steps A device to browse the web on the go Processes that Increase organ donation Deliver $10/month to poorest women in PakistanClean the house easier Design is also… Design is about meeting basic needs.
  7. 7. 7 Looks awesome Meets a basic need Comfortable home Global communication (getting a job!) Communicates: Energy, Fun, action
  8. 8. How do I select a basic need to address? 8
  9. 9. What are the kinds of things politicians, beauty queens, and silicon valley say they will solve?
  10. 10. What are the kinds of things politicians, beauty queens, and silicon valley say they will solve?
  11. 11. What’s appealing about general goals? They sound grand and important.
  12. 12. What’s the problem with general goals? They aren’t actionable.
  13. 13. General Vs. Specific Goals Goal 1: “Clean the house.” Goal 2: “Fold that basket of laundry.” General goals sound appealing, but specific goals are actionable.
  14. 14. So how do we solve general problems?
  15. 15. Let me tell you a story 15
  16. 16. 16 This is Nadia. She’s 11. She lives in Houston.
  17. 17. 17 Nadia is struggling with fractions at school
  18. 18. Her uncle wants to help, but he lives in NYC 18 He uploads them to YouTube
  19. 19. This videos help Nadia. She aces the test! 19
  20. 20. This video helps other students pass their fractions tests, too. 20
  21. 21. Videos in this format help students learn other topics. 21
  22. 22. These videos became Khan Academy. 22 Very general problem
  23. 23. 23 But it started by helping a specific person with a specific need Nadia, age 11 Ace this fractions test
  24. 24. Specific Needs vs. General Needs
  25. 25. General needs are actually Domains Domain: “Clean the house” Specific goal: “Fold that basket of laundry.”
  26. 26. What’s the risk with a specific goal? “Fold that basket of laundry.” Specific goals might be too trivial.
  27. 27. Specific goals can be trivial But, if you start specific, you can usually generalize
  28. 28. Specific Need Uncommon books Harvard students looking up major, dorm, relationship status Web-based No page reload Never Delete Generalized to Clothes, Food, Amazon Fresh Other sellers Ivy League US Colleges Everybody Chat GDrive
  29. 29. If you start general, you may never start. If you start specific, you can usually generalize later.
  30. 30. 30 How do I select a problem? Identify a specific person with a specific need Nadia, age 11 Ace this fractions test
  31. 31. How do I solve the problem? 31
  32. 32. 32 CCB+A+
  33. 33. Iterative Design 33 C
  34. 34. How do get from idea to product? Idea Product 34
  35. 35. How do get from idea to product? What I expect: Idea Product 35
  36. 36. How do get from idea to product? Idea Product What it’s like: 36
  37. 37. Two Design Processes The waterfall model, and iterative design 37
  38. 38. The Waterfall Model Product Requirements Design Implement Fix bugs Ship it • One button • Touch screen • Soft keyboard Idea 38
  39. 39. The Waterfall Model: What’s good about it? Product Requirements Design Implement Fix bugs Ship it • One button • Touch screen • Soft keyboard Idea 39 It’s simple, linear, and the steps are certain
  40. 40. The Waterfall Model: What could go wrong? Product Requirements Design Implement Fix bugs Ship it • One button • Touch screen • Soft keyboard Idea 40 What if a touch screen can’t be implemented? What if this device is so slow it’s unusable? How can we keep up with the competition? What if the hardware weighs 30 lbs? When there are many unknowns, Design is always iterative – so you might as well plan for it.
  41. 41. Iterative Design 41 Idea Product
  42. 42. Iterative Design origins: Spiral Model of software engineering (Barry Boehm, 1988) Every iteration should experiment with the next biggest risk. How to achieve the perfect gradient on app icons? Does touch work? All new concepts are risks. They must all be prototyped. 42
  43. 43. Iterative Design is good because it minimizes risk 43
  44. 44. Iterative Design: what’s hard about it? 44 Idea Product The steps aren’t certain from the start.
  45. 45. To minimize risk on novel designs, Use iteration on each risky aspect of the design 45 Idea Product Touch screen Soft keyboard One button
  46. 46. In this video, what are new concepts? Write them down now, we will list them together after the video 46
  47. 47. What new concepts should we prototype? 47
  48. 48. Initial Prototype: What did they prototype and how? 48
  49. 49. What new concepts did they prototype? And How? Can the drone carry the stuff? Can the drone detect hand position? 49
  50. 50. What was the biggest new risk they discovered during prototyping? DRIFT 50
  51. 51. How could they have avoided learning this two years into the project? 51 By prototyping this risk on users in the environment
  52. 52. How do I solve problems? 52 C By learning from prototyping and testing on users in the environment
  53. 53. How do I learn design? 53
  54. 54. 54 Not like this Not like this More like this
  55. 55. Design is a skill, not knowledge. We learn it through practice and feedback 55 Sports Languages Cooking Playing an instrument Painting Acting
  56. 56. Learn Design by Doing it 56 Lydia Chilton, CS Brian Smith, CS Steve Feiner, CS Gita Johar, Business Elizabeth Hillman, Biomedical Eng Harry West MechE / IEOR Adam Royalty Design Center Paul Blaer, CS Mark Hansen, Journalism Laura Kurgan, Architecture Chris Wiggins, Applied Math Katie Reuther Biomedical Eng
  57. 57. Summary 57
  58. 58. 58“Design is when things look awesome.” What is design?
  59. 59. 59 Looks awesome Meets a basic need Comfortable home Global communication (getting a job) Communicates: Energy, Fun, action
  60. 60. Design is Creating a product or service that Meets a specific need of a specific person By prototyping and testing to adapt it to the people’s abilities and environment. 60
  61. 61. 61 How do I select a problem? Identify a specific person with a specific need Nadia, age 11 Ace this fractions test
  62. 62. Specific Need Uncommon books Harvard students looking up major, dorm, relationship status Web-based No page reload Never Delete Generalized to Clothes, Food, Amazon Fresh Other sellers Ivy League US Colleges Everybody Chat GDrive If you start specific, you can usually generalize.
  63. 63. How do I solve problems? 63 C By learning from prototyping and testing on users in the environment
  64. 64. Developing an idea into a product involves risk. Idea Product 64
  65. 65. Product Requirements Design Implement Fix bugs Ship it Idea 65 The Waterfall Model is simple and linear, but …
  66. 66. Product Requirements Design Implement Fix bugs Ship it • One button • Touch screen • Soft keyboard Idea 66 What if a touch screen can’t be implemented? What if this device is so slow it’s unusable? How can we keep up with the competition? What if the hardware weighs 30 lbs? The Waterfall Model is simple and linear, but it breaks when there are risks.
  67. 67. Iterative Design is less straightforward 67 Idea Product
  68. 68. 68 Idea Product Touch screen Soft keyboard One button Iterative Design mitigates risk by iteratively prototyping and testing risking features
  69. 69. Sometimes you find “showstopping” problems. It sucks, but at least you can fail fast and move on. DRIFT 69
  70. 70. Learn Design by Practice and Feedback 70 Lydia Chilton, CS Brian Smith, CS Steve Feiner, CS Gita Johar, Business Elizabeth Hillman, Biomedical Eng Harry West MechE / IEOR Adam Royalty Design Center Paul Blaer, CS Chris Wiggins, Applied Math Mark Hansen, Journalism Laura Kurgan, Architecture Katie Reuther Biomedical Eng

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