Design factors

This post is about design. But think broader than graphical design! Think music, buildings, toilet seats, airplanes, movies, money, phones, clothing, text, pencils: everything by people for people.

The goal of design

Goals for the design
  • Every object has to be designed to bring something accross: a message or a feeling. A message can also be something on how it is used. (think buildings and objects)
  • The user/experiencer is always the centerpoint. He/she is never to be lost out of the process.

The factors in designing

  • Message/feeling: Is always in the center. It is the main goal of the project. The factors surrounding it are the factors of succes to get the message accross.
  • Emotional: the feeling you want to get accross. What feeling should the user be left with after using your product? Open or closed, warm or cold, together or alone, selfconfident or confused, smart or dumb etc.
  • Community: This could be translated to marketing. How do you want to get your product to the users and how do you want to keep them. How to bind them to your message/experience?
  • Social: This is more about the user him/herself. How do you translate the message/meaning/feeling the best so the user understands it almost instantanously. Think about communicating the principle of door, play button, zipper, navigation through site, the gameplay of a game. The main thing is that you should be able to position yourself into the user. Interaction design, game design and human engineering are examples of this social thinking.
  • Structure: The structure to bring the message accross. Think of the programming code, the foundations of a building, the garment and sewing of cloths, the rythm in music etc. This is the technical aspect of the product. The foundations should be solid and should be supporting all the other factors. For example the objects of object oriented programming could be transfered from the social aspects.
  • Management: Every product has to be built. The building process is a main influence in the final product. It creates the most limitations for the other factors. Not everything is possible. The management has to support all the factors and divide attention equally. If management is chaotic and the builders are demotivated it will effect all other factors. It is all about motivating and getting the best out of all the internal people.


examples designfactors
  1. The upper design process has everything focussed on structure and management. The designers/builders have a structure that focusses on the user but they fail to get a good feeling and inspiration accross. It has a huge effect on their marketing and their user base/community.
  2. The lower design process tries to look at all the factors. They built a structure that supports the users but they also formed a vision that triggers emotions. Their open management also helps triggering the message to the outside world. The good structure that conveys the message and feeling translates in a community

In the lower example you see how design works holistically. (the whole is more than the sum of the parts) You see that if everything is balanced you will have a base that can grow steadilly in all directions instead of focussing on separate factors.

The smaller the circle the smaller the focus and audience, the bigger the circle the bigger the focus and audience; the more difficult to build it. Think of the structures and diversity you need before you can reach a larger circle. You have to evolve every facet.