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Design is Problem Solving

I recently overheard a developer here at Visionary mention how much he enjoys programming because it's very clear-cut.

Your code either works or it doesn't. There is no middle ground.

Design, on the other hand, is considered more subjective, based more on preferences and opinions and less on logic and data.

And truthfully, design has received a bad rap over the years — because of bad designers. Not because the designer is bad at design, but because they allow their clients' tastes and emotions to get in the way of the the project.

Then, those designers become frustrated and post their rants on Clients from Hell, blaming everyone but themselves.

Design is not just about arranging colors and playing with patterns. Design is problem solving. And the solutions you construct, like code, can be measured.

So how can design solve problems, and how does it determine the success of a project? Well that depends on the goals.

“Livening up” your website or making it “more fun” are not goals. Those words are polysemic, meaning they are words that represent different things for different people. They are abstract terms and not very helpful when it comes to determining a successful design.

We have discussed clarifying the goals of your website before, but an example of a goal might be your blog.

Do you spend a lot of time writing articles every week or every month? Do you want people to read them? That's a goal.

With that information in hand, a designer's job would be to determine how to properly highlight your blog on your website.

Selecting a typeface that is readable readable and easy on the eyes, or displaying new blog posts somewhere large and prominent on the homepage are just a couple simple examples of how a designer might solve this problem.

There are a variety of other techniques a designer will also use to visually organize information, known as Gestalt principles, which we’ve explored before. You’ll see these have hardly anything to do with color and are actually very definitive in their purpose.

Through analysis, we can then track the success of the design by whether or not people are viewing the blog and spending time viewing the articles.

Keep in mind that your website might also have several other goals. In cases like these, it's imperative to rank their importance and establish a hierarchy for two reasons:

  1. It helps establish a barometer to measure success and

  2. It let's the designer know how the content of the site should be aesthetically structured

Without both of those, a project will fail because there won’t be an objective way to assess success.

What are your goals – your real goals? Do you want to sell more products when someone visits your site? Do you want to collect user email addresses? Visionary Services can help you achieve your real goals and get your project started right. Contact us today!

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