I just want to talk a little bit about design and what exactly I do. First, design isn’t easy, it isn’t natural and it’s not necessarily fast. I try to talk to my parents about being a designer and what I do, why it’s important and I often get things like “so what are you going to do, paint pictures?” or “oh, so you design where traffic lights will go”, no… no I don’t that’s a city planner, but what I do is similar, but definitely not the same. My degrees HCI and TPD are rooted in the science which is why they’re BS degrees and not BA’s.
Design starts like anything else starts, with a problem. Once you have a problem you analyze it and try to better define exactly what the problem is, you do lots of research and once you have a well defined problem you can start to generate some ideas or solutions (even far fetched solutions) the point of ideation is to get as many possible ideas on paper as you can. Once you’ve got a pool of ideas you select one to run with and to flesh out, to prototype and to test. After testing you analyze the results, did the solution solve the problem? was it the best way to solve the problem? could something else do better? is the design good? Then you can either start again with a new solution or you can work on perfecting the solution that you found to be right for the problem. That presents it’s own set of defining characteristics.
So, you have a solution to a problem… now make sure that it’s a Good design, it needs to be tested by potential users to get real world feedback and then you might have to go back and change some things on your design depending on the analysis of the feedback. The thing to realize about being a designer is we’re not users we can’t be, what we think is awesome isn’t always awesome to the masses of users who’ll have to put up with our design decisions which is why we do testing and why we go through hundreds of iterations until we solidify a solution.