Sunday, April 12, 2009

Design Enligtenment

Bill Buxton in his book, 'Sketching User Experiences', has managed to elucidate some aspects of design, and especially so in the areas of user experiences. Many a times, designers have failed to understand the basics, and of the importance of getting the design right, and even having a branding value. Bill has managed to provide examples of how design can be made better, even in its infancy stages, through the use of rudimentary tools like paper and post-its. And what makes it even more interesting is how sometimes good design is something so simple to achieve!

One idea that I would like to highlight, and perhaps draw some parallels to in the areas of design education is in the concept of (n+1). In this section, Bill highlighted about the ever increasing, and sometimes even exponentially increasing costs that companies incur as they move on to produce their (n+1)th iteration of their current line of product. Logically speaking, one would assume that with every new iteration of a mature product, be it software or hardware, one can assume that costs would be cheaper, but the reverse instead holds true. Drawing comparisons to the design education, or in a general sense, the education field that I am in, what interests me is that as we tend to move into this obsession of compiling a list of best-practices, one must not forget that at times, the (n+1)th iteration of this practice might actually be prove to have the negating effect, rather than the intended one. My worry is that at times we are so consumed and concerned with attaining or coming out with list of best practices of our own, that we forget that at times, the early iterations of the thing that we are doing, is in fact THE best practice, and of which further iterations are no longer going to give us the same kind of results, or worst still, the same level of satisfaction.

Perhaps like what Albert Einstein used to say:
'Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.'