Class 62 were wondering about questions that designers ask themselves when starting a project.
If I'm making something for others to use, the most important question I ask is "how can I make this useful for the intended audience?" It's very important to understand the audience before you begin - who is going to using the project? That question permeates everything, from the idea of a project, right down to the design of the software and the user experience. The second most important question for me is "what are the constraints of this project - how much time, how much effort, how much budget etc" - then I try to balance those two main ideas as I'm creating the project.
There are many types of "design":
- Graphic design - how to communicate your ideas visually and aesthetically
- user experience design (UX) - how to design the functionality of the software so the user can interact with it without the software "getting in the way"
- user interface design - how to fit all information we need into displays - this is deeply related to UX design
- software architecture design - how all the behind the scenes bits of software machinery connects together from our CMS to the iPhone app and the various other services we use, like the connection to Google Maps
- test design - a piece of software is like a carefully built house that's connected from many moving pieces, like an intricate lego machine. When you build something that's fairly complicated that relies on each piece functioning correctly, you need to continually test it so that if and when things break down because of bugs (mistakes in programming or data entry), we can quickly find where the error was introduced and fix it. If you go through it by hand bit by bit, it can take a long time. So we have "unit tests" that are little software programs that we write to check our other software. A project works better if testing is designed into the project.
For me I always start with asking these questions:
What is this going to be used for? (informational, fun, introduction, sales)
Who (audience) is going to use this design? (kids, parents, teachers)
What story can I tell to engage the audience with this design? (try to emotionally connect with audience)
What form will this design take on? A book, a poster, an APP? (UX design & UI-very important)
Is this design part of an already established campaign or website?
Then I brainstorm & sketch and make a prototype. (my blog post to you- http://cynthiajabar.blogspot.com/2011/05/digital-literacy-collaborating-with.html )
Then I ask the questions again.
The more curiosity you have about HOW & WHY a design works the stronger your design will be.