Creating a design, selling an experience
Some people think of design as strictly an artistic process where the primary goal is to make things look attractive. Design however, is as much about usability as it is about aesthetics. Designers use the various tools at their disposal to solve their client’s problems while creating solutions that look good. This could include creating compelling graphics or designing a website that meets a business objective. It could also be the creation of intriguing package design to encourage sales. While it ‘s easy to focus on aesthetics, creating the ideal experience through design is more complicated and more important.
Evoking emotion through design
One trait of a successful design is that it can elicit an emotional response. Some designs attempt to make the audience happy while others may attempt to make them curious. An effective design is one that makes people feel that intended emotion even if they don’t realize it. For example, a design can bring comfort and nostalgia to someone by intentionally using popular design trends of the past. It can bring back pleasant childhood memories. A design of a delicious meal can encourage someone to buy food even though not particularly hungry. Incorporating a celebrity in the design can exude a sense of luxury or class.
Emotions can be volatile and designers need to be aware of this. Designs can shame and hurt just as easily as they can encourage. Designing for highly emotional occasions such as funerals require a high level of sensitivity. Tact is also useful when the subject of the design may be controversial.
Getting the right emotional reaction to the design is the real challenge. Misspellings or grammatical errors tend to evoke negative emotions. They take attention away from the intent of the design and diminish its authority. Choice of colors can also have different psychological and cultural significance. Through market research designers learn what the target audience expects. Designers cater to specific targeted market segments based on the findings of this research.
Good design is not always obvious
Good design is not always bold and outstanding. It is often subtle but effective. It silently performs the important role of diverting attention to an actual experience. Designing a seamless integration is much more difficult than creating something outlandish and attention grabbing. Simplicity and lack of distraction makes it highly esteemed. People like things that just work and invisible design does just that. An interface with one button that does exactly what you want is more useful than a panel full of hundreds of beautiful buttons.
Everyone has different needs and preferences. Designing something that is intuitive and user friendly requires a full understanding of how the design will be used. A simple color change or font increase can make a design more legible while seeming like a trivial change. Small design decisions like these add up to have a significant impact on the user’s experience.
Design should incite action
A good design should not just be admired but it should move a user to take further action. This could be a recommendation, a referral, a purchase or some other action directly related to the experience the design has created. An advertisement may encourage sales while a public service announcement may raise awareness. A design that is appreciated in isolation does not bring much value to a business until the user takes an action. The choice of graphics, wording or placement may all impact what action is taken and are all important considerations of a design.
Websites use call to action buttons to let the audience know exactly what the website owner would like them to do. This prompts the user to take the desired action instead of leaving it up to each individual to decide what a suitable course of action is. Suggesting that an article is shared or that your business is contacted increases the likelihood that these actions will actually be taken.
Design serves a purpose which is much more significant than simply beautifying. Design affects the entire experience of using a product or service. Businesses must consider the end-user when designing to ensure that the design caters for those that will actually use it. Companies that are known for good design tend to also develop strong brand loyalty and customer loyalty.