Are the Users Dumb?

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Are the users dumb?

Thoughts inspired by a page called “These Things I Believe.1

It is my understanding that design is not art. It is a more noble thing: the definition “design is the marriage of art and utility” just about sums it up perfectly. The following three points can prove a good guideline when designing, or even, in many areas of life.

Good Design Is Humble.

The aim of a website’s (or car’s or advertising) design is not to show off, a canvas for the designer to leave his stamp. It’s to help the user. This can be simply by making the website (or…) more attractive, and thus more of a joy to use. Maybe there is no need to add more functions, more content, but reducing would result in a better overall product. Or leaving the same features, but present them in a neater, more user-friendly manner. Good design is humble, because it focuses on the user’s needs.

Design Is An Intermediary

What design does is provide a platform for the user to connect with the object. That object may be content on a website or in a book. The design presents the object to the user, and also an interface for the user to interact. Sticking to the website example, the design is how the user sees the website, where the buttons are, how the content is presented, the font used, etc. As such, it should be intuitive, should let the user actually get to the content.

In these aspects, design is like writing. Pompous writing, with the author trying to impress you with complex vocabulary and obscure proverbs and expressions does not make for an enjoyable read, does it? Rather, it puts you off the text and makes reading a chore. The best writers are the invisible ones, those that let you get to the story without interfering and waving flags.

Design Is An Improvement

A fundamental point. When an object gets a face lift, the new design should by all means be a better way to present things, a better way to interact with the object itself. Ultimately, a better experience for the user.
What are your reactions? Do you have a product in mind where a new design made it more accessible/user-friendly (or otherwise)? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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1 http://jonoscript.wordpress.com/these-things-i-believe/

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  • Desiree

    Very well said!