A design is simply a blueprint or description of the physical structure or system of an object, or for the effective performance of an action or procedure, or the resultant of that blueprint or description in the shape of a finished product, or a process. Therefore, the verb to design literally translates to “to put together” or “to assemble.” Designing is the art and science of constructing objects, systems or processes with a purpose or goal in mind. To design is therefore to work toward achieving a particular end. In business, design is one of the most important managerial functions, as it determines the success or failure of a project. Therefore, business managers are charged with ensuring that design meets the requirements of the customers, and is able to deliver on schedule and within budget.
A number of factors are involved in a successful design process and achieving its desired results. These factors include motivation, knowledge, communication, involvement, information, creative strategy, experimentation, analysis, competition, and the legal framework that underlies the design process and product development. This article discusses the importance of knowing and engaging in the following key design thinking topics and the importance of the design process and associated ideas and concepts that lie beyond the specific design solution or outcome. The focus will be on the interaction design foundation and the importance of protecting the design from outside interference.
Interaction design thinking involves considering the relationship between people, designing and technology. Designers must consider how people can be included in the design process in order to benefit from their ideas. Interaction design thinking also considers the impact of people on design, and the effect that designing activities can have on them. This is important because many designers are challenged by the lack of balance between the creative and technical aspects of any given project, which leads to “deadening” of the creative part of the designer and therefore to a loss of creativity and innovation.
Another important concept to help us in our journey through design thinking is the problem-solving approach. Designing should help us solve problems, and the ability to do this is inherent in us. When we solve problems using more scientific approaches, however, we become abstract and lose the context of the problem-solving. When we use an alternative strategies for dealing with problems, however, this context is maintained and we are better able to come up with solutions.
One of the many alternative strategies that designers often use to solve problems is the process called ideo ulation. This process takes design concepts and abstracts them until they are made meaningful within a real context. It is accomplished by first defining problem-solving goals and objectives, then describing relevant scientific literature that supports each goal and objective, and finally organizing each set of information into a clear vision of the end result of each objective. As each goal and objective is defined, its relation to the other goals and objectives is described, and then a list of supporting facts is presented so that the designer can confirm that his or her conceptualization of the end result is reasonable and acceptable within the constraints of the scientific or technical data available.
Design thinking is a very important tool in helping designers generate quality design ideas. The ability to think critically and creatively about how people, goods, and systems interact is essential to being a successful designer. The more abstract and generative the thinking involved in the design process, the greater the chances of being successful. However, it is also very easy to get caught up in the creative process and lose sight of the process that yields the product – which is why many designers choose to work within a structured environment that helps to guide the creative thinking and the product development process as a whole. Designers who work well in an environment that supports their creative thinking are more likely to be successful.