Week 7+8 Assignment – Reading response

Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services by Kim Goodwin.

It’s so accurate the describe the world as shaped by humans and to suit themselves. We seem to be constantly inventing tools to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Efficiency and convenience are a big part of innovations these days.

The statement about our different modes of communication is also something which technology has boosted. Thanks to technology, particularly smartphones, we are able to ‘talk to someone’ in a variety of different ways. And not always audibly but through the use of images, other visuals, sounds, gestures and other movements. Popular trends of social media like snapchat make it so easy to send photos to people to communicate something -where you are/what you’re doing/how you’re doing/for no reason at all, even without the use of words or intention for conversation.

“Design is the craft of visualising concrete solutions that serve human needs and goals within certain constraints.”

I like this quote because it summarises what it is to design. It also alludes to the idea that design is a mix of science and art, which I agree with! Design is creative problem solving that aims to serve human needs/goals. I think that with the influence and growth of technology design is moving towards being for functional, everything has a purpose and a goal. Design therefore appears to be improving and developing alongside that of technology.

The digital age has offered new challenges and capabilities to design. Airline customer touch points has really impacted from this – as I was leaving home to fly to Singapore I was amazed at how much technology had taken over the whole process, even for long haul flights, and the general lack of people involved in the process. I checked-in using a machine, printed my ticket and baggage sticker, but my bag into a weighing machine which deemed it okay, which then put it on the conveyor belt to get it to the plane. At no point during the check in process was I faced with anyone who worked for the company!

Product and service design, instead of experience design, is an interesting idea because obviously the designer wants to create a particular experience but a valid point is raised here about the chances of everyone having that same proposed experience perhaps being unlikely. Should the designer therefore create an opportunity for a particular experience, or should they just create an environment for any experience to take place, subject to the individual? Is product and service design successful simply by providing an experience to the user, or must it be the particular and intended experience?

Interaction design/Graphic design/Information design/Industrial design – it is interesting to consider how they all link and contribute to Experience design. HCI and IA design is also comparable. Will one trump all other one day, or will they somehow all merge? It seems confusing and an exaggeration to have so many different ‘types’ of design when they are similar and cross over in so many ways. I imagine that designers would have skills in a few of these areas because of this overlap.

I like the label of Goal-Directed design, however isn’t all design goal-directed? With regard to the design process, surely a designer cannot progress without a goal and a plan or achieving it? Despite not all design perhaps having a functional aim (maybe its just about aesthetic value) it must have an end goal or else what drives the process?

Incredibly, personas and other methods that have been developed and are still successful tools used today in the design process. It seems wise to mix new and successful methods to be most effective in creative problem-solving. Personas is a method I have used for a past project and I found it a good way to make sure that the product did everything it needed to, and that it would cater to all audiences it was intended for.

Principals – guidelines, can’t all be applied in all contexts, not all created equally -help user accomplish goal/help user minimise work?

Patterns -solutions used for similar problems, inform designers vocal

Processes -planning (objectives, idea, schedule)/research (define, decide, interviews, ethnographic research)/modelling (analysis, trends, personas)/requirement definition (implied factors, highlights needs)/framework definition (objectives, solutions)/detailed design (plan, refine, collaboration, determine product specifications, user testing)/implementation support (construction support, ongoing)

Practices -team structure, communication, collaboration, small team, team environment

These elements are a good reminder of how the design process works -it is not a straightforward journey, but consists of many influential factors that need to be considered.