As my career has evolved and grown I’ve found myself in new positions being asked to articulate my views on design. The words have evolved but the core elements remain the same. In my work I strive to design experiences that are elegant, efficient and sophisticated. Here’s why:
Elegant – elegance covers the smoothness, coolness and appropriateness of the aesthetics of the experience. This is the visual design goodness that wraps a core experience in a palatable, and hopefully desired, aesthetic. It takes the core brand values of the business and conveys them in ways that make the experience engaging and in some cases fun. It also applies to the micro-interactions that take place throughout that experience. That slide-out menu, the tasty bit of microcopy that just informed a decision and/or made you smile, the transition from step to step – all part of the elegance of the solution.
Efficient – use only the exact amount of steps necessary to complete a task and no more. Efficiency reflects a drive to get users to their goal in the shortest amount of time on task. Ask only the absolutely necessary questions. Force only the mandatory decisions and learn from previous experiences so that future interactions are informed. Strive to balance the needs of the business with the goals of your users working with the belief that an efficient experience will breed many return, loyal customers who will spread the gospel of your product and it’s ease of use to their networks.
Sophisticated – this is the technology portion of the equation. Build experiences that learn and understand your users. Your products should recognize the user, know they’ve visited before, remember what they did or asked for and provide intuitive information along the way to facilitate an easier process each time they visit. Use the sophistication of the technology to reduce the inhuman nature of the web and bring emotion, empathy, recognition and personal interaction back. Sophistication is not complexity. In fact, it’s the opposite when surfaced on the experience level. The complexity lives behind the scenes and drives what can only be described as “amazing” experiences for your users.
That’s my design philosophy.