But if I then asked you, can you design? You’ll probably say no, explaining that you have no artistic talent.
Therein lies the hidden truth of design.
The Hidden Truth of Design
In actuality, aesthetic is only the brim of design. The truth about design lies in how well it communicates a particular experience.
It determines how a user interacts with the object and the surrounding to create an emotion and experience that she won’t forget. It’s the story of the user; it’s her life; it’s her world.
The visual appearance of a design, however, is just a mechanism to attract you to an experience. It’s like being attracted to a stranger because of his appearance. But once you get to know the person more, you learned his personality and beliefs that you’d otherwise wouldn’t know just by looking.
Good design, like a good person, is easily perceived because you’ll feel connected.
Take Apple products for example, which is very often used as a benchmark for good design.
When you look at the iPhone 5, what do you see? A sleek looking electronic device with subtle bezel around its aluminum casing that accentuates the sophistication of its simple form.
When you look at it up close, the details continuously draw you in on every single element of its body. You can’t help but feel a sense of admiration and appreciation. The precision of the different parts creates an emotion of wanting to hold the phone in your hand.
Upon interacting with it, you’re immediately in the zone. You don’t want to put the phone down. It’s the combination of the carefully designed software and hardware that made your experience so fluid. Such great design is the reason why the iPhone has been received so well.
Now, you can’t say the same about a clunky old phone – without naming any brand, how about just a classic clamshell flip phone? Not as sexy, isn’t it?
To illustrate something less physical, a resort experience is also part of design. The way a hotel decorates its rooms, the clean towels on the rack, a welcome card on the bed, and a concierge directory on the table, they’re all designed to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
Why do you think the towels are white and not black? I like black a lot and I think it might even look cooler and more chic than the boring old white. But it creates a negative experience. Using white towel, you could immediately tell that it’s clean. When you know it’s clean, your direct perception is trust and comfort, allowing you to begin the first day of your vacation positively.
In contrast with the ability to create something beautiful, which does require a decent amount of skill and talent, user experience is something that should already exist in you.
If you ever felt something is very inconvenient or a hassle to use, then you’ve just discovered the first step to create something that could provide a better experience.
Our natural tendency to take the simplest route, or being lazy if you will, is actually a catalyst to improvements. This is the same reason why we have automobiles, trains, telephones and the Internet.
Therefore, you should be able to design. Everyone has the ability to provide a valuable experience.
By thinking along this line, you might discover that what you do is automatically improved with higher quality.