The session began with a few choice examples of good design. Dimon pointed out some of his favourites from a range of sources such as architecture and maps.
â€œGood Design is Problem-solvingâ€
He satisfied a potentially difficult client request by not changing the colour of the image in the foreground as was requested, but rather by changing the background colour to make the image in the fore stand out.
In another example he showed a traditional, online movie listing system turned on its side. This new perspective marries time, location and title allowing the end user to choose what matters to her.
Itâ€™s fairly easy to point out what is good and applaud it, but how do we apply it into our workflow or very work culture?
Dimon cited Threadless.com as a prime example of subtle design details that improve usability. Their product availability is displayed in icons by size. When an item is out of stock it receives a grey background colour rather than the regular deep-blue. A link to reprint the item is also provided in human-readable text (although it is an email grab).
He mentioned the addition of the UNDO feature to certain web apps and the advancement of Web Typography as two more key movements in better interface.
One thing I hadnâ€™t heard before was Conwayâ€™s Law:
Organizations which design systems are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations. – Wikipedia
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results” – Benjamin Franklin
So the greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will lead to a solution.
I liked Dimon’s example of the study made on warplanes during WWII. The study consisted of examinations of the bullet patterns on planes that returned safely from action. The generals apparently pointed to all of the bullet-ridden parts of the planes and said “let’s add armour here.” They had to be reminded that these were diagrams of the planes that came back.
“Too often we measure everything and understand nothing” – Jack Welch
to be continued…
(I took six pages of notes on this session so more to come)