When companies develop a written strategic plan they often list certain job functions necessary for their success and how they will fill those position. Usually those jobs are about such things as engineering that are crucial for the growth of the company. The following link is to an article about how Facebook’s registration statement lists designers as crucial to their success.
As you read the article you will see that they think of designers as more than just people who make the pages look pretty. Designers know how people think and work and they build websites and design print materials that make it easy for people to read and navigate. For instance, it is a common convention in our current culture to start an article with a headline at the top left, followed by a column or more of type that is constructed from left to right, the same way we read. Obvious, right? Don’t mess with what works. A designer needs to be consciously aware of this to successfully convey information. But what happens when new technologies and new devices are created? A designer needs to know how people think and to create an interactive experience that is logical, obvious, and makes sense to the most novice user. The article describes how Rob Mason, a new young designer, was given the challenge of developing how video calls on Facebook should work. He eventually threw out the conventional style because it didn’t work, wasn’t intuitive. What he came up with was called by another designer as so simple “even his mom could figure it out.”
This is often a point where engineers and designers clash. An illustrator was given the task several years ago to render a chart showing how the equipment in a video studio should be connected. It was a confusing array of lines crossing over lines to connect this mike to that mixing console and that camera to this recorder. The designer asked if he could reposition the elements which weren’t necessarily laid out as they might physically need to be in the studio. He presented an illustration that was straightforward and easy to follow. One of the engineers shook his head and said there was something wrong with it, “it was too simple.”
How many times have you struggled with a new piece of software to accomplish your task? How many times do you go from one dropdown menu to another looking for the right tool? Maybe if a designer had some input, the program not only would look better but also navigate easier and more logically.
We need more good designers.