Many of our childhood experiences were based on fables, which always help you understand things and facts better. The same applies to design. Today’s article, we will follow a designer’s experience to learn something.
I have a friend named Jimmy, which is a very common name. When I met him, he was working for a company called Shmuckle, and he was the designer of the company. Like all designers, he dreamed of becoming a famous designer, and Jobs’experience had an indelible impact on him. Jimmy, like many designers, is fascinated by Joe. Fortunately, Jimmy’s worship does not rest on his mouth, but on his own, trying to promote good design in the company. In the eyes of Jimmy, good design should be intuitive, innovative and enjoyable.
Of course, if the development of story is always smooth, it will be meaningless. Jimmy indeed as a normal plot to advance… He encountered obstacles.
This time, Jimmy is working on an important project that will have a direct impact on his career. For this task, he needs to redesign the entire control panel for a product of his company. And on this project, Jimmy found he couldn’t come up with a solution that was good enough. Fortunately, he has Plan B, which is to find inspiration again. Jimmy began replaying his favorite design videos, reading articles that inspired him, listening to podcasts offered by other peers in the hope of finding a feeling or inspiration in them.
Unfortunately, inspiration has not arrived. The situation is awkward.
At this very moment, help arrived. Sarah, a senior designer at the company, happened to pass Jimmy’s office and see Jimmy struggling. What a familiar scene, she had experienced the same state when she started her career in the early years, painful for a good design. Today, she has been able to easily manage different needs to cope with complex and varied design projects.
“Hey Jimmy, I saw you wiping your hair from a long distance. You look like you’re working on a new design. Look at your situation. It’s not going well, is it?” ”
“Well, the client said, let me redesign the entire control panel for them. They felt it was not good enough to make, hoping that the new control panel would be better able to display information, improve efficiency, and had better address a few more obvious accessibility issues. But how do I design… They all felt wrong. There were a lot of people on the client side who took part in the test, some who thought it was great, some who were really annoying, and some who said they had to change it. Now, I feel powerless, I don’t know how to do it. Jimmy kept his scratching head, staring at the screen.
“Don’t bother,” Sarah said with a smile. “If you keep looking at the problem and fixing it all the time, it’s often like this. Solutions aren’t really complicated. You need to take root. The problem will be solved as long as the whole design scheme fits the rule base firmly. In fact, the key is several basic design principles. ”
“Although this is often heard, can it really work? Jimmy stared suspiciously at Sarah, thinking for two seconds that she felt the head of her eldest sister was meant to teach her secrets, touched the little book, sat upright, and prepared to take notes. “So, what are the principles? ”
Sarah patted Jimmy on the shoulder, took a cup of coffee, and said, “Come down for a walk. Let’s talk as we walk. ”
“In fact, after the completion of the product, it is necessary to re-examine and adjust the design based on several basic principles. Sarah took a sip of coffee and began to speak slowly.
Jimmy, if the train of thought in the brain is not clear, it is difficult to make a clear product. Therefore, before designing a product, we should eliminate the confusion in our thinking. There are several things we should always pay attention to in the design process.
Business goals, customer problems, and required functionality can lead to design, and there is a relationship between these factors.
Never sacrifice functions for goodwill.
What we should do next is always self-evident.
For the most important things, highlight them with negative space, color, fonts, graphics, and other UI elements.
Text of all sizes should be clearly visible.
Icons should be precise and sharp.
In addition, make the design delicate and appropriate.
Through design, your users should instinctively know where he is and what to do.
The appearance of the product is ultimately a by-product of a clear design (or not clearly defined). Clear design intent will eventually turn into a clear product design. — Massimo Vignelli
“I remember Massimo Vignelli writing in The Vignelli Canon that a chaotic and complex product is always the result of the manufacturer’s own chaos, indicating that the person himself is deeply complex and confused. Sarah said. Jimmy is thinking at the moment.
“The next point is equally important. The digital products we design must be clear and focused on the current task. An interactive and operable APP is what users need. To do this, the content on the screen should always be up-to-date and always be highly relevant. At the same time, APP should also serve as an extension of user intention. If the user opens your APP, wants to solve a problem, performs a task, and your APP can’t do that, then the situation is very bad. Sarah said.
She paused for a few seconds, combed her thoughts, and continued, “You see, all we’ve done is to make sure that our solution, in the right environment, can solve the problems that need to be solved urgently in front of the right users. Of course, we have to go through many iterations before we can get closer to this goal. ”
Many designers and developers are saying that APP should be flexible and should satisfy all customers’ needs. All right, Jimmy, these statements are nonsense. But there’s one thing that’s true, and one thing you need to keep in mind: trying to please everyone only brings endless stress and pain, frustration and loss of resources. So don’t be afraid of losing some users. What really needs to worry is losing vision and vision. ”
“A great and excellent digital product must always be clear about who it serves. Only by remembering the real users and understanding their needs can we develop a truly effective solution. The best digital products are hidden in vision. Sarah and Jimmy walked to the window of the building and looked out at the traffic. Jimmy couldn’t help asking, “What about the other users? Sarah replied with a smile: “when we meet our current goals, we can only take care of other people. Our target users are the core, others don’t like it, don’t match our vision, and don’t worry. There will be other applications or services on the market that will satisfy them and make them happy, and we’re always in one camp, and you can’t have everything. Sarah answered Jimmy’s question with a smile.
When people look for software and services, they don’t want functionality, they want solutions, a vision that matches them. — 37Signals “Getting Real”
The next principle is also a very important note, that is, feedback. Feedback can help users determine whether the operation has been performed, whether the results have occurred, and let users understand the current situation:
When interaction occurs, the corresponding interaction elements should be highlighted.
The progress instruction control should continuously display the current state.
The addition of animation and sound helps users understand the state and result of interaction.
“I think you should know that even with such advances in technology, the biology of humans itself determines that we still rely on feedback to determine the outcome and state of interaction. Our bodies (visual or tactile) need to feel feedback and send signals to the brain, and what’s going on behind the virtual interface needs to be communicated through a comprehensive interaction design so that users don’t have to think hard about whether the previous click or slide interaction works. Feedback to the user should also be easily understood, and the user should not think hard about it. So you should have books on psychology and behaviour that reveal human thinking, because they can help you improve your skills. Sarah took a sip of coffee, moisten his voice, took Jimmy and went upstairs, and returned to his office.
Use metaphor well
“Metaphor – I’m not talking about literary metaphors here,” Sarah says of a seemingly useless but often talked-about concept: “You see, the design elements and interactions in the UI interface are so similar to the elements and interactions in our real life, which is to borrow metaphors to familiarize us. Elements and interactions are projected into virtual digital products. In this way, users will learn and understand more quickly. ”
“It is because of metaphor that real experience and virtual interaction are related and user interaction occurs more naturally. As the focus shifts with the elaborate layout, users subconsciously click on the highlighted interactive controls that are similar to the real buttons, and they subconsciously slide on the virtual screen and walk naturally before the interface. So it’s important to understand which APPs your core users use every day and how they interact. This helps you absorb experience, eliminate bad experience, create comfortable interaction, reduce the pressure of learning, and better transform. Sarah said, subconsciously simulating interaction and explaining.
Consistency of content
“Next, we will use cases to illustrate that it will be easier to understand. Sarah sat down in a chair and turned on the computer screen. “For example, we’re going to make a calendar. Do you think it should be a grid or a list? Jimmy scratched his head and thought for a moment, hesitating, “well… We should stick to the grid style. Is it more compact and more organized? Am I right? ”
“In fact, it depends on what the user’s main goal is. If the calendar element appears in the report document, should it be grid style or list style? Same, depending on the situation. Do we need to use global navigation in every application? It is also necessary to decide based on context. Consistent design is not only consistent in surface style, but also in terms of requirements, content, user usage scenarios and experience. If unique design can bring greater value in a particular situation, then it makes sense that this particular situation is different is necessary. Sarah explained carefully to Jimmy.
A good design should be a customized by-product of an assessment of a particular context, rather than being created out of the blue, otherwise, no matter how cool, it would be out of date. — Massimo Vignelli
The last thing to say is defensive design. Sarah turned to Jimmy and said the last rule.
Defensive design? What’s that? “Jimmy feels that he has learned a lot today, and finally this principle has been written to his little book. This is the intuitive design that we often talk about. Sarah smiled.
“I know! Jobs used to say this concept before. Jimmy finally found a concept that he was familiar with. He was very excited.
“But do you really know what intuitive design is? Sarah watched excited Jimmy sell a pass.
“Predicting user behavior? And then help him solve the need before the user performs the next operation? Jimmy asked suspiciously.
“Yes or no. It does not allow you to predict user behavior, defensive design is to avoid mistakes. No matter how carefully you design, there will always be mistakes, no matter how much research you do, how well you plan, your product will always need a backup plan to avoid problems. Sarah said: “defensive design is to let you find problems that may arise. ”
Believe me, if your product gives users negative experience, they will never forget it.
“I still don’t understand what you mean. Jimmy habitually scratched his head. Sarah patiently began to explain: “take driving as an example to illustrate this matter.” When you drive, you always try to avoid all kinds of possible dangers on the road, such as reckless trucks, pedestrians crossing the road carelessly, ignorant roadside children, and even wild deer jumping on the road, and so on. Similarly, as designers, we need to anticipate problems that may arise, and always focus on fixing them. In this way, we will not destroy the whole user experience. We should have a good defensive sense of design, maintain experience and improve experience. When Sarah spoke of this place, Jimmy felt that she was emitting some kind of light.
Then Sarah got up and took Jimmy back to his workstation. “How do you remember these things? “Sarah looks at Jimmy, who is still thinking, with a funny tilt of his head. Jimmy, like a big boy, looks up in surprise and asks,”What do you mean? Is that all? Is that the only thing? ”
Sarah breathes out, smiles and says to Jimmy, “Well, there are so many design principles, rules, specifications, and techniques, but for everyone and every company, there is a way and a strategy of their own. You can explore as much as you like, but even if you don’t know all about it, you can use a few principles and strategies that you know well to come up with good enough designs. I share with you some of the most familiar, masterly, and profound principles that can help you open the way to good design, and I think if you do, you will be able to come up with something better than others. Other design principles, as long as you have patience and time, can continue to explore. That’s the job. ”