Currently, I am learning front end coding skills, as well as digesting all the information I can find relating to user experience, not just for the web but everywhere else. Part of this is learning the true meaning of design.
Not just making things look pretty, making them usable, easy to understand and creating better experiences for everyone. These skills have opened my eyes to the lack of design and thought that goes into many things in the world, and something that started out as a simple learning exercise has changed the way I look at the world completely.
My town recently has been turned upside down by closing a railway bridge and blocking off traffic from getting through one of the main routes in and out. The signs placed on the approaching road simply read “Road Closed Ahead” and many people still got stuck. People started blaming drivers for not paying attention, and all sorts of random reasons, but it became clear to me that the planners didn’t design their experience well enough.
Road closed signs mean nothing to people that don’t know which road is actually closed, nor that the bridge is closed. The lack of thought and planning the experience of people leads to chaos for a few days until someone realised their mistake. People using routes in and out of the town can’t rely on local knowledge like the planners can, they have inside knowledge that allows them to understand the underlying information, but not see the actually message they are giving.
In everything you create you must think, plan, design and get feedback from others. It is often hard to see thorough other people eyes, and failure to realise that others may not have the same level of insight as you can lead to failure. A few traffic jams are nothing to worry about in the grand scheme of things, but if a customer doesn’t understand where to check out they won’t buy from you. If a reader doesn’t understand what you are explaining they won’t be a reader much longer.
Design isn’t just about beauty, it’s about market relevance and meaningful results — John Maeda former president of the Rhode Island school of design