The two talks I attended on Friday morning weren’t especially similar, but they had one very important thing in common: they were people-centered. A design can be the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world, but it won’t be successful if it doesn’t consider the people involved in making it, and the people who will be using it.
It’s All About The Interface.
Sarah Hall talked about “The Science of Art,” and got nerdy about the way our brains work, and how we can use that to make better design. The human brain has a variety of ways to perceive and interact with the world, and good design considers how people will respond to it.
Why are we so obsessed with Web Design and UI? Hall summed it up wonderfully: “Your interface affects how you understand and process the world around you.” So, if you want your work to be understood, you need design that helps the people you want to reach understand what you do, and reach out to you.
How You Connect People and Ideas Can Make You Memorable.
Ultimately, design is about connecting, and connecting isn’t just about person-to-person, either–it’s about how our brains connect and relate things together. Sometimes, things that might otherwise be completely unrelated feel like a natural connection, in your own mind. One of the roots of creativity, as Sarah Hall put it, “is divergent thinking, and how you make connections between disparate things.” When we consider how the people we want to reach will link one idea to another, we can make design that’s easier to understand, or design that catches the user’s attention and becomes more memorable.
Good Design Means Working Together.
Adam Connor’s talk, “Working Better Together: Characteristics of Productive, Creative Organization” was focused on the creative team, rather than the end user, but the people-centered approach still rang true. He talked about how each person’s role in a project can overlap, and stressed the importance of understanding each person’s role, looking for shared values, and building trust within the team and with the client.
One thing we do a lot of at Upswept is encourage our clients to give good, honest feedback, and Connor’s approach is similar: he encouraged everyone to be involved in the design process. Each person is important to making the end product Awesome, and having everyone–even the client–involved makes that final result even better.
“Real design does not have an end point. It is infinite; it is iterative.” #Webvisions
Another comment from Adam Connor that really hit home for me is that, “real design does not have an end point. It is infinite; it is iterative.” It makes perfect sense for our clients, too, in my mind: your business is always growing, changing, and evolving, so your design should grow and change with it.
Don’t get me wrong: this doesn’t mean having a web site that’s constantly under construction, or ordering new promotional flyers every other day. But, the web site or branding that’s perfect for you today probably won’t fit you so perfectly a few years from now. Your business depends on how people respond to it, and your design should reflect that.
So, when you’re thinking about the next steps for your business, think about how that might affect your design needs, and plan for it. Even a great design can be improved, whether it’s right now, or sometime in the future.
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“Anyone can be cool, but awesome takes practice.” –Lorraine Peterson