We often take design for granted. Well, we shouldn’t. It’s important to realize the attention to detail that is taken to make products perfect. Everything is thought about. Design is the reason one button on a smartphone was placed two millimeters to the left, and it’s the reason some products make it while others don’t. More than anything, change in approaches to design is what develops technology the most. For example, the creation of laptops that could flap open like a notebook revolutionized computing, making PC’s portable.
There are two principles I see in design: functionality and aesthetic, which often go hand in hand. In technology, these are the most important qualities of successful products. Here are a few rules that make design successful.
- Eliminating distractions. If something isn’t necessary and doesn’t serve to further the purpose of the object being designed the only thing it does is detract from the objective. This is why there is a huge emphasis on “clean” design.
- Design is an art, not art. When designing, the focus should be primarily on the function of an object, not the aesthetic. Making something look good is secondary and usually comes in later. Now, don’t get me wrong, making things look pretty still counts for something. It just shouldn’t get in the way.
- Simplicity is complexity. Figuring out how to design something as focused on the goal as possible is difficult. The ultimate goal is to have something appear simple, even if the method of getting to that state is difficult and complex.
- Attraction. A product that is designed well can have all the above, yet not be successful if it doesn’t catch the eye. A little bit of color and creative design never hurt as long as functionality isn’t hindered. However, it is important to remember what the goal is: the space shuttle just had to get people into space safely, it’s looks weren’t a priority.
No matter what the product is–a shoe, a website, a chair or phone–these are the principles I use to judge the design of a product, and ultimately it’s quality. Altogether, focus on design is probably the most important feature of any product.