So, I’ve begun to realize that I may have drifted way from what I actually started writing this whole blog about. For those of you that didn’t know it’s actually under a publication on Medium called Design Valley… And although I love writing about people, social culture, crystal bubbles and try to incorporate various theories about why people can be such d*cks, it’s time to shift focus back to design and how to tell whether it’s actually good or not.
So we are now on month eight of design valley and I’ve come to realize that not a lot has changed in my opinion of identifying a good designer. For those of you who read my first article, you may have realized that if I was a designer, I most certainly wouldn’t be a print princess I would be a glittery digital superstar with fairy dust gushing through every vein in my body. I’m an original nineties digital super-geek that grew up in tech city, with a Nintendo controller engraved into my skin and a Triforce tattooed on my forehead and, I can probably complete Sonic One and two with my eyes closed and I will beat anyone at Street Fighter with Chun-Li and no superpowers. But, besides all that I grew up with the Internet and always demanded the latest time slot after my brothers had their two hours each, (because my parents are fair like that). So, I could use MSN until the early hours of the morning and get up to all kinds of Habbolicious activity and play to Tomb Raider — at the same time! Life was gr8. Everything was evolving since Windows 95 and chip, and I was loving it.
I noticed how design was changing on mobile, on my consoles and online. MSN was constantly being updated and every time it happened I thought it was the most incredible thing in the world. New emojis and abstract ways to make your display name look hot af. Aside from that Link was now 3D, potential husband material, and, my days of Sega Mega-drive were over. Life was good. And, as that began to change we were slowly getting closer to the digital age.
Digital transformation is the “changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society”. It is something that now occurs every second, and, is ever changing. I used to dream about the day humans turned into robots and you could change your mood/personality/emotions with the press of a button and now I can see it happening very, very soon. Where we are now is in tech state junkie where all ideas have been thrown into a digital playground and the future is being made. From top secret design underground agencies and hot new products, the world is in a state of digital transformation where everything is possible but we have definitely not seen anything yet. And, as a Babylon in the nineties who saw through its early stages and was glued to every type of hot technology there was, born in tech city it was hard not to see it at its worst and at its best.
Before I start talking about all the super “hip”, super “cool” junkies that have now moved over to the hub and the “amazing” work spaces there are with oh so wonderful people in London’s tech city…and of course I’m not being sarcastic at all….(we can for restrictively offending purposes not get into that…). Let’s look at design in all its aspects and all its flourishing ever changing evolving I think it’s fair to say that since 1995, research has gotten a lot tighter and more processes have been put into place to cater for users but design itself had gotten a lot simpler… Or so it seems to the public eye.
So lets simplify things and talk about websites (…or mobiles….or web/iOS/Android apps, digital watches etc). — According to Canadian researchers, it takes a user 1/20th of a second to decide whether they like a website or not. And first impressions count, right? Not only do users first look at websites almost instantly or during discovering a new company/product, but, as humans we are lazy and can be stupid. Especially when it comes to digital. Most people claim they completely understand design in particular, but don’t know the difference between product and product or UI and GUI. Most users don’t second guess site navigation and — just like dating — if something isn’t attractive, probably don’t even bother navigating in general, especially if its a new product/company; forget it. Hence why it’s so important to get user-experience on point as well as visual s3x appeal.
I’m not even going to try to explain user-experience in a paragraph, or an article for that matter. What I will say is that it encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with a company, its services, and its products, and we’ve seen it become a lot more complex over the years . But, like Yin and Yang, you can’t have one without the other. Digital interfaces need s3x appeal and there’s nothing worse than being ordinary. Based on live stats, in 2014 there were approximately 968,882,453 websites — okay so a lot of them probably aren’t the most beautiful things you’ve ever seen, but that’s a lot to be up against.
— with users = $$$, and, the digital playground turning into more and more of a battlefield every day, it makes sense that user-experience is heavily invested in to a point where, if you don’t have your own UX function on or off shore as a company — and, have no idea who your Personas are and what your User Journeys look like you, might as well face-palm your self into design hell. Right now.
With this in mind, in theory it should make it easier to to identify what “good” and “bad” digital design looks like. We could get into the what do good and bad design look like for ever and ever but we’d probably miss the point by well over a mile.
Although the quest to identify or differentiate the good from the bad continues — it’s clear that certain factors affect the core elements of breaking down what visual design s3x appeal looks like. And, I think it’s fair to say, at this point, it’s less about trial and error. I usually apply Bandura’s Social Learning Theory to just about anything but not this. All good design starts with a user.
And through identifying needs of the end user, qualifying what users what, translating them into digital s3x appeal we move closer to what design perfection looks like as we pace through Design Valley.