Goal-Driven Design

  1. Design first; program second. In other words, goal-driven design begins with considerations for how users interact (and how things look!), rather than beginning with technical considerations.
  2. Separate responsibility for design from responsibility for programming. This refers to the necessity of having an interaction designer who can champion the end-user, without worrying about the technical constraints. A designer should be able to trust his or her developer to handle the technical aspects; in fact Alan Cooper suggests that to do otherwise places the designer in a conflict of interest.
  3. Hold designers responsible for product quality and user satisfaction. Though stakeholders or clients will have their own objectives, the interaction designer has a responsibility to the person on the other side of the screen.
  4. Define one specific user for your product. This particular idea has developed into something that is now more commonly associated with user research: personas. Yet Alan reminds us to connect personas back to the product, and constantly ask: where will this person use this? Who is he or she? What does he or she want to accomplish?
  5. Work in teams of two. Lastly, interaction designers should never work in a silo. Collaboration with others, which Alan Cooper calls a “design communicator,” is key. Though the design communicator Alan envisioned in 1999 was typically a copywriter intended to provide marketing copy for products, today that has expanded to include a project manager, content strategist, information architect, and many others.
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