...what is good design?
Good design is about clarity & simplicity. Simplicity doesn't mean making a sleek device with only one button to do six different things, but rather putting in exactly the right buttons or controls, whose placement & functionality are so obvious that nobody has to puzzle out what they might do.
In this way, good design is invisible. The user doesn't notice or think about the design itself, but remains focused on the content or the task at hand.
Good design can also be fun. When the functionality is taken care of, an element of playfulness can add a lightness to the interaction that keeps users engaged & makes them feel good.
|The point of graphics is to convey information & to contribute to the coherent feel of a product, not to call attention to themselves. They should, of course, look good, but they should fit in with the overall image of a product, rather than asserting the designer's style. When I do have free reign as to style, my graphics tend to be fun, loose, & informal (as opposed to slick & corporate) -- assuming, of course, that that style is appropriate to the situation.
user interface & interactive design
A good software package, web page, or other interactive product doesn't just grow organically; it's thought out & designed from the top down. The overall flow of the product is logical; the navigation is straightforward; the meaning of the graphics is clear; the use of terminology is consistent...and it all hangs together in a coherent whole.
Some products look very sexy...until you try to use them, & find them to be poorly thought out & disorganized. Involving an experienced interactive designer from the beginning of the design process can prevent this problem. Years before there was such a thing as the web, I began confronting the same interactive design issues of navigation, graphic layout & presentation, & information "chunking" in HyperCard that we're dealing with today in the web world.
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