That's why design is so important - also for online business

 

To make money with products or services, you should solve other people’s problems.

Design also has to solve problems that people have. But good design is much more than just a problem solver!

Here I show my view as an experienced UX/UI designer – what inspired me, what makes good design and why it is equally important for even more customers and online business.

 

The artist Piergiorigo Robino – what a croissant has to do with design

 

Piergiorgio Robino, who also leads the artist collective “Nucleo”, compared design to a croissant:

According to him, design is a combination of many things.

First of all, you need knowledge about its history and then a list of the necessary elements, in this case the ingredients. But that’s not enough, because a functioning recipe is also necessary for the production.

In order for the baker to have a specific purpose in making the food, he also needs a target group that will buy the food and, at best, eat it afterwards.

Existing recipes also give the baker room for creativity, as it is possible to combine or modify it with different ingredients and the product still remains a croissant. For example, there are croissants without filling, with cheese, bacon, chocolate and many more.

 

The question of what design really is for me

 

Some time ago I was at an interview for a UX position and three people in a small, tiny room asked me the question: “What does UX mean to you?”

I said, for example, that design values a good user experience or that the message should be communicated well. I also expressed that design can be used to create clarity for the end user. But all this was not enough for the experts.

Maybe they wanted to hear that design for me means designing something according to the heuristics of Don Norman (who among other things received an honorary doctorate in design and was vice president of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple). Or maybe something completely different. Anyway, in the end I was just too young for them at the time, but the conversation made me think even harder about what design really is for me.

 

Approach to good design

 

As an applied science student, I learned to isolate things and think abstractly about how a system works. In fact, it’s more fulfilling and better to look at the system holistically and think about how it interacts with other things – not just the detached interactions. Otherwise, you only have a limited view, even though the world is much more complex, and by isolating yourself to individual issues, you lose sight of the whole.

For good design, one should take the perspective of the user. If this is not done, it either becomes just a work of art without any applicable functions or a device is developed that only serves a purpose without actually inspiring.

If you need support in online business, the experts of Monkeys.Digital will be ready to help you, including design.

But why is design so important now?

 

The Bauhaus movement of the 1930s showed even more than before why design is important. Bauhaus brought together utility and aesthetics. This movement sought to make form design accessible to a wider public, not just a select few, as was the case during the Renaissance. Today, we find the Bauhaus legacy in companies like Ikea and Apple.

Here is my definition of design and what its impact is:

Design …

shapes reality
is a vehicle to other areas
is a manifestation of a solution
helps to create order
builds systems
solidifies concepts

All in all, it meets our needs and gives us what we want. Design is international and intentional. It helps to achieve a set goal.

 

What is good design?

 

Bad design is often immediately recognisable. Good design, on the other hand, is less quickly identified as just that, because it adapts optimally to its environment.

It builds on proven concepts of the past and present. On influences that do not immediately fade away. On factors that are economically and culturally conditioned. Good design is transcendent to what is and what was. It is thoughtful, clear and yet at the same time in a certain way invisible. It is enriching and helpful.

Or as the well-known industrial designer Dieter Rams puts it, good design is

innovative
useful
aesthetic
understandable
unobtrusive
honest/modest
durable
sustainable/environmentally friendly

 

How to become a good designer

 

Based on research of prominent people in recent and somewhat past history, we come to certain qualities that make a good designer.

Ten points have been identified based on scientific data:

A good designer …

uses his own products
fails early/fails fast
thinks broadly
thinks about the small things/details
is curious
is open-minded
immerses himself in the world of people and culture
thinks from the user’s perspective
pursues certain intentions with his work

But one point in particular is essential, which Dieter Rams emphasises and which I will briefly reproduce here:

Young designers often believe that a usable product will come out if you just follow the style guide of the platform. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the style guide effectiveness myth that needs to be dispelled.

However, as the other aspects pointed out suggest, it takes much more than just following a pattern and believing that this would already fulfil the aim of the whole work. Because the viewer also quickly notices when something is hastily put over something else without deep thought, which of course has a negative effect on the overall picture.

 

Good design for websites and software

 

Design has several tasks to fulfil for websites and software:

It should help to harmoniously combine texts and graphic elements into a wonderful overall picture and ultimately inspire the customer or lead.

To do this, it must be designed in such a way that the user is guided in a clear and structured way and can find his way intuitively. Of course, a little wit and beauty can also spice things up, as long as they don’t distract from the essentials. If the user feels well taken care of and gets what he expects or was promised in response to his interactions, interest and satisfaction increase – or the length of time spent on websites is extended and he gets the desire to discover more.

In order to turn even more visitors from leads into customers, it is therefore important that the interaction of design, texts and possible other elements is considered and implemented from a psychological point of view, which is why copywriters and designers should work hand in hand.

If the site is also technically optimised in terms of SEO, this results in a very positive experience for the user, which greatly increases the conversion rate and can lead to the website becoming a sales booster.

 

Conclusion on good design

 

As you have seen, good design consists of much more than just offering a beautiful solution. It combines the useful with the aesthetic and also makes some people think directly.

In a nutshell, it shapes our physical reality. It combines science and art in practical applications for people.

Design is like magic: it can solve a new problem and ushers in innovation.

And innovation represents a technological and cultural evolution that drives the world forward. As a result, solutions to more complex problems are developed for the betterment of individuals.

Be it a software user wanting to do something more efficiently, a site visitor looking for an answer or a patient in hospital.

Design is the catalyst for innovation! According to the UK Design Council, investment in engaging, good design leads to a 20-fold increase in net sales. This alone makes it worthwhile to spend money on UX/UI design.

At the end of the day, great designers bring together all sorts of disciplines:

They know the beginning and the end of a project, the process itself, are involved in communication, know about the competition and the costs and develop solutions that people will use tomorrow.

This is why I myself find design so exciting and hope that you will now also see it with completely different eyes.

Best regards
Aron Bijl

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