Using digital design for success online.

Wed Nov. 18th 2015

Change by design

Remember that kid who sat down the back of maths class, sketching ninjas in his schoolbooks with a ballpoint pen? Yeah? Well he grew up, became a little less awkward and got a job as a designer. Nowadays he has a trendy beard, wears sneakers to work and drinks espresso. He's got the coolest phone, listens to bands you've never heard of and although he's too cool to admit it, he's still a little obsessed with ninjas.

Creatives. Ugh. If I wasn't one of them I'd probably like to punch them in the face. But what is it that makes us creatives so smug? Well in short, we sincerely believe we can change the world and to be fair, we have form.

Design is more than a logo. It is more than colour and shape. Innovative design is behind everything humans make, from apartment buildings to telephones, light bulbs to electric trains, or coffee table books to a smartphone app. Thanks to the increasing sophistication of the tools we use everyday, the importance of good design cannot be understated. Here's why:

A useful world

Here's a bit of science. Stay with me.

In his book The Design of Everyday Things the cognitive scientist Donald Norman explained that design serves as the communication between an object and the person trying to use it. A rock, for instance, doesn't need a lot of design before we figure out it's good for hitting things with. A smartphone, by comparison, is a complicated device. Design is what allows us to unlock its potential. The design communicates the intent and function of a thing.

If the design is bad, that's when we lose our cool and hit it with the rock.

So what!

If you run a business then you are trying to communicate with your customers, either to sell them more, or as part of how you deliver your service. Design can help you to optimise that communication (i.e. keep them from hitting you with a rock) and achieve results everyone feels great about. It can help you to innovate and to unlock the potential of your business.

The myth of innovation is that brilliant ideas leap fully formed from the minds of geniuses. The reality is more mundane, with most innovations being the end result of a lot of sweat, research and hard work. Imagine if you had a framework which could guide you through this process of innovation!

That's design thinking, a collaborative process by which the designer′s methods are employed to match people's needs with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. It′s a human−centred approach to problem solving that helps people to be more creative.

If you want to know more about design thinking, I can highly recommend Change by Design, by Tim Brown.

OK, let's design

The first step is to work with a savvy design professional through a 'design & discovery' process. I personally like to hold a team workshop where I walk everyone through the design process step by step (sometimes without them knowing it). These workshops are not only fun and engaging, they allow me to understand everyone's thinking while unlocking some powerful ideas.

The result is that when we actually start writing code or designing an interface we're doing so with a crystal clear blueprint, based on real data, real research and some smart creative thinking from the whole team. Everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Want this for your business?

So here's the pitch: get in touch with me if you think this sounds like an appealing process for your business. We'll have coffee - me an espresso, you a flat white - and we'll talk about the big picture and whether it's feasible. I'll be the one wearing sneakers and drawing doodles in my sketchbook, but with a bit of help it'll be both of us doing the design.

james@digitaladvisor.nz

Get in touch

Give our chief digital advisor James a call to arrange a consultation.

Phone 021 858 600

james@digitaladvisor.nz