Back to Work – What I did on my Maternity Leave

Good Design can be illusive. What does it look like?

Just an observation About the world, but it seems that “Good Design” is somewhat subjective. Have you found that too?

To me, there’s one word for good design and that is “Neat”.

There are a lot of factors that influence good design.

Things like:

  • aesthetic appeal or form
  • minimising or preferably eliminating exceptions
  • transparency of functionality
  • contextual relevance

But when viewed through the eyes of the human using your product or service then it all becomes clear. When you have nailed it, then someone can pick it up and start using it with very little instruction.

It’s called “Human Centred Design”.

It has 3 important phases:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Ideation
  3. Implementation
  4. Party

Put the end customer at the centre of your focus, plan to involve them and then have fun.

In the Inspiration phase, you gain empathy for the end customer by getting to know them and their problems, desires, dreams and aspirations. Hmm, not all their problems perhaps, :). Got to understand what makes them tick, what drives them to “Get up in the morning” and what gets in their way.

Ideation is the phase where brainstorming and coming up with all the crazy ideas you, as a group, can come up with. Some will be off the wall, others will be simple, and some will be bigger than “Ben Hur”. Be careful, not to constrain this period of thinking as some of the best ideas come “out of the blue”.

The 3rd stage is Implementation where the chosen designs get implemented. Prototype, test, refine, iterate till the all the little bugs are sorted out, then away you go.

Onto the last stage, which is the best, a celebration of coming together to make the world a better place and a little easier perhaps. (In case, you didn’t work it out, I added in the last step. It’s important to me and probably to you too.)

If you want to know more, here’s a link to the IDEO Design Kit: http://www.designkit.org/human-centered-design