On Design

Posted Tuesday, April 3 2012 by jonathan

Wells Riley put up a really great article on design. It's very focused on Dieter Rams and the aesthetic coming from places like Apple and Braun, as well as some of the recent design-focused startups.

One of the fascinating details in the article is a breakdown of how designers and business / engineers, as two separate groups, look at the role of design. Both groups clearly identify utility, aesthetics, innovation, and understandability as the most important qualities of design as applied to technology startups.

Based on the numbers, non-designers put more emphasis on innovation and utility than do designers. More interesting to me is that both groups seem to believe that "design" is more important to them than to their users. I've got mixed feelings on that. On the one hand, I do believe that most customers don't understand how important design is to the products they use and wouldn't self-report a high importance. On the other hand, I would think product and service creators understand just how important design in all its forms is to creating remarkable and outstanding products — something that is all about the customer.

I wonder whether this is a reflection of pride in craftsmanship vs. an acknowledgment that customers will put up with all manner of abuse, or if the survey itself could use a bit more design.

(See what I did there?)

Your Thoughts?