Sunday 9 September 2012

Good Design is NOT Expensive!

Goodness Gracious!
I have switched to "Bus" mode - no posts on Dominoyesmaybe for months and then 3 in one day!
I blame UKLUG!
Of I go, have a whale of a time and I come back empowered and enthused by the new things I have come across and new challenges that have been set. This post however comes from the other source of UKLUG benefits, the chats and conversations in the bar after the official bits have finished.

I was chatting with some other devs and the topic of design came up now not the back end application architecture functional design, the front end UI / UX design. It was mooted that this gets ignored a lot for fear of  adding time to the schedule or adding $$'s to the cost of a project and this may be true given the structures we develop in, however I would posit that there is a way were there is minimal additional cost and not that much extra time either.

The answer - simple - teach the devs the principals of design and then we will include those skills naturally as part of the life of a project. Until this happens the phrases ...

"I can't do the arty-farty stuff"
"I am not paid to design I am paid to program"
"If you want design you need to hire Gok Wan"

... will get trotted out when a project ends up looking the back end of a cow with rampant dysentery.

One of the big positives of a well designed application is that it helps that often fraught problem of "user acceptance". It is no brainer that something that is well designed will appeal to the majority of users whilst something that is badly designed will put them off it from the get go and that is very very important.

We all have a designed thing that makes us go "Wooooo! that is NICE" now look at an application that you have created .. does it make you go "Wooooo! I want to use that" ?.

Design is a big big topic however the thing is that the principals of design boil down to just five elements and they are :
  1. Balance
  2. Proportion
  3. Rhythm
  4. Emphasis
  5. Unity
Now over the next couple posts I am going to explore each one and try to explain what each means and how we are application developers can leverage them to create the same wonderfully useful applications but with that extra bit of  "polish" on the front end.

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