“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs
My approach to design is simple: usability above all else. The most important questions are, “What do people come here to do?," and, “How can we make doing that as satisfying as possible?" There should be nothing to distract users from accomplishing their goal.
Fundamentally, there are three activities that happen on the Internet: creating content, finding content, and engaging with content. My goal is to make all three of these satisfying for users regardless of technical sophistication, device or screen size.
While we continue to discover how the web uniquely wants to work, we can also to look to the centuries of print design for clues about organizing the user experience to suit people's mental maps. For inspiration and to keep abreast of best practices, I follow Karen McGrane, Ethan Marcotte, Luke Wroblewski, Brad Frost, and a handful of others.
Through years of study and hands-on practice, I've developed a solid process for arriving at highly effective design.
This is the crux of it:
- Ensure that business goals are comprehensively defined
- Iterate on the UX through rapid prototyping and short feedback loops with real users and stakeholders*
- Focus on user flow first, then layout, and, finally, “skin" (fonts, colors, backgrounds, etc.)
- Deploy on a dev site with real content to test design assumptions
- Continue tweaking the experience through weighted user feedback and analytics
It's a simple process at its core, yet it yields reliably excellent results - that is, happy users. Take a look at the projects for examples of my designs in action, or view some sample design documents.