Do you have a mental protocol that you follow to judge the quality of a design?

20 Mar 2009 - 1:12am
6 years ago
1 reply
859 reads
Thomas Ingram

When you view a digital product or service do you have a mental
protocol that you follow to judge the quality of the design? Is this
a conscious act? Is it something you've developed over time? Do you
actively seek to improve your judgemental process?


20 Mar 2009 - 8:26am
James Haliburton

Certainly I think everyone will have some subconscious protocol they
use to judge design. A lot of creativity comes from subjective
assessments, and first impressions are also an important aspect to
end-user empathy.

However, to be practical it's important to have some
framework/system/process/protocol/method for judging a design. It's
important to understand that each context (depending on the product,
the company, the goal), and each phase of the design process (seed,
sketch, prototype, etc.) will demand an appropriate way to interpret
the design.

I prefer a protocol which includes the first step as stating the
context or problem framing. I try to promote these high level
categories (derived from the book Innovation by Carlson & Wilmot):

Needs - problem framing and context

Approach - the design itself

Benefits to Costs ratio - what do you gain, what do you sacrifice
with the given context

Competition/Alternatives - your benchmarking, gap analysis, etc.

As you can see there's much more about assessing the impact and
context of the design than the actual quality of the design itself
(still very important of course).

The categories were originally intended to act as a complete
proposition for product innovation, but also serve just the design
aspect well, too.

These are very high level descriptions and you can rename them to be
more specific to a given project, but as overarching categories I
think they remain quite important.

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