Re: [IxDA] Do you actually possess "design" skills

20 Jul 2010 - 4:18pm
6 years ago
2 replies
544 reads
Moses Wolfenstein

I should know to leave well enough alone given the depth of feelings some of the folks commenting in this thread clearly have on this matter, but I'm going to pose the question anyway.

What happens 5, 10, 15 years from now as software continues to get "smarter"? Even if you look within the constraints of something like the Adobe creative suite, with relatively little time an amateur today can do things that would've taken intensive professional labor a decade ago. Does it really seem likely that tools for visual design are going to become harder to use in the future?

I'm not trying to make an argument against the need for a graphical or visual tool kit in design, just trying to emphasize that we're on the verge/in the process of a major sea change. Command of traditional analog tools is already not requisite for getting in the game seeing as pretty much everything is executed in pixels anyway whether as final product or a part of the design process. I know I'm engaging in speculative thinking, but it seems like as things continue to develop the one thing that can't be replaced is an understanding of principles of interaction and design as they apply to the context in which you're working (systems knowledge of the field). Specific technical skills then increasingly become questions of what works for you to market yourself and then get the job done to the satisfaction of your client or supervisor, or alternatively what you're required to use if the context you're working in has norms dictating tool use.

my 2¢

Moses Wolfenstein
Doctoral Candidate
University of Wisconsin–Madison


20 Jul 2010 - 6:21pm
Dave Malouf

You don't learn how to draw b/c you are going to draw your web sites. You learn how to draw, you learn color theory, you learn grid systems, you learn semiotics so you can be a better designer. The ease of the tools are meaningless. We are still creating systems that require visual communication in order to communicate abstract and virtual affordances. Don't know how to get out of NOT knowing this stuff. If you are designing behavior of products & systems, then you need to design the elements that communicate what is possible and how it feedsback to the end user. Pretty simple if you ask me.

-- dave

20 Jul 2010 - 7:05pm

Oh boy. I didn't want to keep this conversation going but I have to respond to this...Moses, it sounds as if you are saying graphic/visual design can be summed up as technical ability. While this misconception has sadly been perpetuated by some mediocre design schools/programs, it is a dangerous fallacy.

Honestly I think any interaction designer should understand the fundamental principles of design (space, line, balance, color, etc.) because these principles are imperative to creating good user experiences. Having an understanding of color theory and type are very hugely relevant and, to my mind, are way more vital to master than how to use Adobe Creative Suite.

The way we use the tools to create the experience will change but the fundamentals of design will always be called upon to design great experiences.


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