Response: Designing for the Digital Age

Designer for the Digital Age

How to create human-centered products and services

In the reading, the author brings out the importance of design methods such as personas to empathize with different user skills in different environments. The Goal-directed design method follows the real-world practice and includes 4 methods for a thorough design process.

People learned how to make their lives easier by inventing helpful gadgets. The essence of design is visualizing concrete solutions that serve human needs and goals within certain constraints. Designers provide the basic instructions for the builders to accomplish the final product.

Complex products and services require the combination of interaction – How users can best accomplish their goals – (functionality of a product; best workflow; supported activities; information required through the process), graphic, and information design.

Goal-directed design encompasses product behavior, visual form, and physical form and follows best practices developed through the practice in the real world. It includes 4 methods such as principles, patterns, process, and practices. For designers, it is most important to empathize with less-skilled users to provide a good product or service.

  1. Principles:  Question yourself if the principle helps to accomplish your goal. Will it help users minimalize work? How many seconds it should take your web page to load.
  2. Patterns: Navigating multi-document interfaces. You can structure different contents by depicting them in different panes.
  3. Process: Develop personas, scenarios, and requirements to understand users and customers thoroughly.
    The author explains the most important steps of the design process.

Project Planning: Rough outline of project structure.

Research: helps to make the best product and design decision about business objectives and technical parameters.

Modelling: based on a set of personas (user archetypes) which present different behaviour pattern and goals

Requirements definition: Personas’ skills, environments, behaviors, and goals help determine their needs/ requirements.

Framework definition:

  • Interaction: functionality
  • Visual: qualities
  • Industrial design: form factor and component architecture

à stakeholder need concrete information to look at as quickly as possible. Thinking about major underlying structure prevents from rework later on. Discussion with the stakeholders enables to refine the focus and parameters

Practices: A good design team has to collaborate all the time to be effective. Usually, it is small and each member of the team has its special skills. They make ideas concrete. But they only succeed by adapting to different environments.


Effective design methods are key for designers to visualize solutions to human problems. Goal-directed Design helps skilled designers ensure thoroughness. By working transparently they can increase their effectiveness.

Response: A Design Perspective on Information Technology

What is Good Design?

First, we have to recognize that there is no simple definition of a Good Design. It is more continuously defining and redefining. However, it depends on many different factors. Such as customer needs and expectations, but also the competences and skills of the user who assess the product. Societal laws, regulations, agreements, contracts and environmental ideals are also a huge impact. A good design artifact is composed of a combination of efficiency and speed on the one hand side but also an understandable user interface on the other hand side.

However, a huge impact of a good design makes the designer himself. His judgment and reflection are very important to design an adequate product. It depends on the designer’s thoughts how to design form, structure and qualities influenced by human habit, traditions and practice but also the on the preconditions and different situations given by the client. Hence, Designers are always creating something new from the scratch using conceptual tools to solve problems and are responsible for the conditions, opportunities and restrictions they create.

Core concepts

Interaction design – existing resource constraints to create, shape, and decide all use-orientated qualities for one or many clients.

Design process – goes from initial ideas to final specification (basis for production). The outcome is not predictable.

Design situation – what should be considered and what can be left out

Digital artifact – the result of an interaction design process. Structure and functionality of the design artifact is possible by the use of technology (computer and information science, software engineering


A Design Project considers ethical, aesthetical and functional issues. Further social and organizational contexts can limit and restrict. The designer has to deal with limited resources and a certain amount of time to create an adequate solution considering unchangeable demands and preconditions as well as conflicting wishes and requests from the clients. These considerations belong to everyday practicalities of design. Develop something of lasting quality in the most suitable and creative way given the existing conditions.

Two product/ project examples for a thoughtfully designed user experience.

Idea 1 of a good design.

Yahoo weather app. Aesthetic weather app that presents you with all relevant weather information users look for. The Design is very minimalistic which makes it easy for everyone to use the app. For an app it’s key that the user can understand the interface fast and easily without any instructions. A clear design encourages using the app often for the special purpose of weather information.

Photo credit:

Idea 2 of a good design.

The design is very minimalistic and it’s centered around the users’ needs. The onboarding phase is very smooth and doesn’t take long to make the watch ready for use. The functions are also very intuitive and self-explanatory, so that the user.

Photo Credit: “Apple Watch Sport.” LWYang. Creative Commons. (Cropped)
Photo Credit: “Apple Watch Sport.” LWYang. Creative Commons. (Cropped)

Aside from the apps, it can be quite useful for busy professionals to manage daily logistics. Instead of pulling out your phone and checking email constantly, you can immediately scan and archive email in a matter of seconds. The calendar notifications serve as friendly and fast reminders. The “Do not Disturb” mode is easy to activate, allowing the user to focus on main tasks at hand. The small screen limits the amount of information. App notifications and messages are treated like time on normal watches. But the Apple Watches also embodies the principle of enhancing the user’s life from the background. Most of the day you forget you’re wearing it, but when you need it, it’s there. Any good app, site, or device should act the same way.



One day without cell phone

One day with my cell phone in Delhi

The day started in the Hostel. After I took a shower I had breakfast with my cell phone, checking e-mails and messengers. I also checked the app google trips to schedule my day plan. Afterwards I looked for a cab and compared the prices in the uber and ola app. During the cab ride I searched for authentic local restaurants where I can have a cheap lunch and read reviews in the tripadvisor app. Many people use face time or other video call services while commuting. YouTube is also very popular in India. Approximately 700 Mio people use it and it is a good thing to transcend time. After I took pictures and videos of some monuments, I had lunch in a local restaurant. It is also very comfortable to check the opening hours in google. Before I make a decision I ask google for advises and read reviews. In the restaurant I met an Indian guy. We were talking about universities and good payed jobs in India. Since he was working for a solar company he told me that he wants to visit Germany next year. We exchanged our contact information. Back in the hostel I edited my videos and pictures and talked to some backpackers. Later we ordered food with an app. The whole day was accompanied by my cell phone. If there were any ambiguities the first thing I have done, was checking my cell phone not get myself into trouble.

One day without my cell phone in Delhi

I went into the crowded streets of Delhi without my cell phone. Hence Delhi was a complete new city for me I did some preparations in advance. I printed a Map and wrote down some sights that I wanted to see. Instead of searching online for a cab I was looking for an auto Riksha. Since the traffic is so erratic the fastest way to commute is to take a Riksha. But it’s more expensive than uber or ola. As a tourist I always tried to haggle down the prices. I also began to observe the people’s behaviour. Without a cell phone where you can distract yourself you have time to really look around and experience everything more detailed. I often had the feeling that I was missing something in terms of disconnection or that my cell phone got stolen. I was not able to take pictures, to search for helpful reviews and reports on tripadvisor, to book cabs and so on. Since in Delhi e-payment is not common I did not have any payment issues at least.

However, I would say that my smartphone is not just a piece of technology. It’s my guide through today’s world. It helps in any situation, but however it makes us seeing the world more superficial. Many things happen without our attention.

I think nowadays it’s very hard for people living without their cell phone. For the most of us it is more than a technical device. We are able to customize everything and we can use it at any time. If we feel bored, we can send messages, check social media or watch YouTube videos. We can easily transcend time. And if we got lost we can check our location via GPS and Maps. So there are a dozen helpful functions which come with the cell phone.