There have been a multitude of technology innovations in the past decade that seem to blur the line between art and innovation. But what actually makes good design good? How does technology borrow from good design to make a lasting impression in the minds of customers and users alike, and how does user experience blend into the mix? Design, much like art, is not an exact science. Design is not a quantifiable, easily explained, measurable component that we can easily manipulate and alter to achieve the desired outcome. Good design is something that we are innately drawn to and no simple checklist could fully define what we truly mean by good design, but when we gaze at examples of it, we are able to pick out essential elements that dictate a somewhat abstract answer to the many questions we have about mixing in design with technology to transcend simple mechanics. Below are a few elements one should think about when attempting to create a well-designed product or service:
How does using a product actually make one feel? Today, innovators are constantly asking themselves this very question. A solution generally solves a problem, but the emotionally intelligent designer needs to also ask themselves, “How will using a product make people feel about themselves and about the world around them?” A well-designed product or solution should bring in elements of emotion as design is the human response to things we create for the world.
Form & Function
Design has long been thought of to be about form, style, and how things look to the user, but function or what something does should also be strongly considered. Form and function should be thought of as a balancing act. Something can look incredibly nice and be completely useless just as something can be incredibly functional and exceptionally ugly. An example of this would be a well designed website. A website needs to be aesthetically appealing for a person to be moved enough to look through multiple pages, but a well thought out website also has to have a lot of back-end work to be found through simple search queries. It’s this function that makes it possible to be brought up by Google and other search engines via organic search.
Ideally, good design in technology should allow users to do more with less; less thought, less steps, and less frustration. It can be difficult to achieve a minimalistic design without looking bare or incomplete, but when well-crafted, a minimalistic design can achieve beautiful results. Simplistic elements are meant to be calming and bring the mind down to the basics, and ultimately bring the content to the forefront by omitting shapes and textures that can cloud the thought process and distract users.
Adding it Up
The best evidence proving a product is well-designed is ultimately customer satisfaction: How many recommend it? Who reviews it positively and who has feedback that is positive? The world of technology is increasingly complicated and with new innovations coming into the market at an exponential rate, it is only natural to want to overcomplicate things and attempt to differentiate oneself with a plethora of features and benefits. That can be great, as a product that will make waves in the technology market should have a long list of differentiating benefits that make life simpler for users, however, the trick is showcasing this product in the easiest way possible in order to not confuse users and ultimately frustrate them.
Technology should be created for the human experience and user participation should be at the forefront when considering design. In a world where people are becoming increasingly used to the digital experience and the effects of digital noise, one should never forget that many times less is more.