Design has always had a bit of a peculiar relationship with the other areas of responsibility a business has. Barring a select few outliers, most successful companies in modern times haven’t placed much emphasis on good design—they weren’t necessarily creating products with horrible design, per say, though some were—more that it wasn’t an ingrained part of the company ethos.
In fact, when things get tough, many times, design is the first thing that gets compromised, even if everyone talks about how important it is. Why does this happen? What does it mean to have good design, and why does it matter?
To be extremely brief: design gets results. Just about anything you’re trying to do can be done better with good design. Some companies, Apple being the most visible example, live and die by this mantra. But what exactly does it mean to have good design? What’s the nitty-gritty of it?
More than just looks
Good design is actually more about how something works than how it looks. The reason that people tend to think design is all about good looks is because when you have good design, things tend to look good as well—function dictates form. But it’s a lot more than that, because in good design, form and function have merged to the point of being indistinguishable. Each interface element looks good because it looks how it should look; it describes its own function simply through its appearance.
As these aspects work together, the design makes it easier to use a product. The duration of the learning process is reduced; the user is faster and more efficient, and all in all more effective. Said simply, good design is a productivity multiplier. It can be broken into three parts: motivation, confidence, and ease of use.
Good design is like drawing invisible arrows and instructions all over your product. A product with good design’s function is apparent and easily intuited. It doesn’t matter if your product is a mobile website, a classic Walkman, or a plain old hammer, in each case, the design subtly prompts the user to use the product as it’s intended.
This phenomenon is so powerful that there are many examples of products designed for one use being accidentally well-suited for another use. Did you know your microplane was originally designed to be used by carpenters until some creative chef realized its power when brought together with fresh nutmeg? Form follows function, use follows design.
Design also inspires confidence: it allows a user to use the product or website without fear of unintended consequences. Because good design means every aspect has a transparent intention and function, users won’t be afraid to experiment and use the device. Good design inspires confidence.
Ease of use
Design is about removing as many obstacles to usage as possible, so that they can convert. Good website design turns your website into a one way street toward conversion, or whatever your goal is. Users are ushered along familiar, motivating, confidence-inspiring paths until they do what you want.
Good design: not a choice
By implementing good design into your website, your users are ensured to get the best possible experience, every time. This makes you more likely to get the results that you want. Keep the principles of motivation, confidence, and ease of use in mind, and good design will be within reach.
[author_box avatar=”yes” avatar_size=”80″ style=”light-green” author_link=”yes” ]