How to Design Things and the Purpose of It

How to Design Things and the Purpose of It

You have different stages of a product, be it a written item, a physical item, a website, or whatever else you come up with.

  • The point of good design is for ease of reading and understandability, not to look artsy or how different it can be from other things.

Functionality

Every product has a purpose and function to serve. The purpose of a website is to capture attention as well as communicate effectively. In order to do those two things it must have a good design. To capture attention it needs to be not plain. What this means is that it needs to have some aesthetics to it. To communicate well you need to understand the psychology of your audience and of people in general.

Some Pointers to Remember

  • Try to keep each paragraph or block of text to the maximum of 3 lines or sentences, whichever comes first. Generally you can characterize even further and say a maximum of 160 characters. Think of a text or of a twitter message. This is about as long as you want it. Two lines is usually good enough.
  • If you have to go with more data, try to find a format that is visually easier to comprehend such as bullet points, sections of text with header titles that encapsulate the idea so they can scan back to find what they read earlier, pricing tables, accordion encapsulated text, multiple parts to an article, etc. Break it down. Make it digestible.
  • For maximum effectiveness make sure to create elegant sentences. Elegant sentences and concepts use as few words to describe the same things just as well or better. It is easier to remember and digest. We string things together so when something is smaller yet means the same thing, we enjoy it more and will remember it better.
  • White space is important. Leave space so that people can visually and mentally encapsulate the concepts going on for mental digestion.
  • Speak with words that your audience understands.
  • Viewing a well produced explainer video is 400% more effective than talking head videos
  • Viewing a well produced explainer video is 800% more effective text alone
  • Customers who view well produced explainer videos are 85% more likely to buy a product or service than those who don’t
  • You have ~2.6 seconds to make a good impression starting when they get the website open
  • Do not try and make everything grab attention. You end up with mental and visual noise. They won’t know where to click. Be focused.
  • Do your design research well. There are tons of resources on the internet about this as well as on this website. (design resources | graphic design)
  • Don’t look too formal because you will fade into the rest of the people.
  • Functionality of your product doesn’t matter if nobody wants to get close enough to buy it or use it. Design is the gateway to functionality being used.

Some Case Studies and Examples

Life is good for teaching us about business.

A car that stands out can be a rust bucket with missing pieces or it can be a well painted cool looking car. You want to stand out in a positive way, not a negative way. So making your product stand out like a sore thumb is not a good idea unless it also looks good.

Just because a guy has a neon pink Mohawk does not make him stand out in a good way. A well dressed man in a suit makes him stand out in a classy way at a party if few other people are as well dressed. It depends on how saturated the group is with a certain look for how much someone or something can stand out.

Watch this video for more examples and information about this.

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Hardware Design

Hardware design matters but not nearly as much as things that require graphic design. TV ads, websites, product packaging, etc. matters a lot. Product shape and looks doesn’t matter as much. It does matter, but not as much. Still do not neglect it. A good example of where it does matter is furniture. Specifically in this example below. The first piece of furniture looks like a box. A really boring and terrible box. Maybe a closet. The second image is a spruced up design that has stain and trim added to it. The functionality is exactly the same. (products page | image gallery)

Pandorex Gamebox 1.0
Pandorex Gamebox 1.0
Pandorex Gamebox 2.0
Pandorex Gamebox 2.0

Ways to Improve Hardware Aesthetics

  • Add trim and frills (not too much or it becomes gaudy)
  • Paint, trim, or add color somehow and on a rare occasion it can be left bare
  • Try to use curves to create a streamlines and futuristic look. Look at sports cars and other good looking cars for some ideas on curves and shape
  • Use wood or metal instead of plastics for look and feel. (e.g. stainless steel shower hose vs white plastic hose)
  • Don’t use too dark of a color or tone as that gives the formal, old, and expensive vibe
  • Don’t use too light of a color or tone as that gives the flimsy, young, and cheap vibe

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