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About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, 4th Edition by Christopher Noessel, Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin

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CH 1 A Design Process for Digital Products

This book has a simple premise: If we design and develop digital products in such a way that the people who use them can easily achieve their goals, they will be satisfied, effective, and happy. They will gladly pay for our products—and recommend that others do the same. Assuming that we can do so in a cost-effective manner, this will translate into business success.

On the surface, this premise seems obvious: Make people happy, and your products will be a success. Why, then, are so many digital products so difficult and unpleasant to use? Why aren’t we all happy and successful when we use them? Why, despite the steady march of faster, cheaper, and more accessible technology, are we still so often frustrated?

The answer, in short, is the absence of design as a fundamental and equal part of the product planning and development process.

Design, according to industrial designer Victor Papanek, is the conscious and intuitive effort to impose meaningful order. We propose a somewhat more detailed definition of human-oriented design activities:

  • Understanding the desires, needs, motivations, and contexts of people using products
  • Understanding business, technical, and domain opportunities, requirements, and constraints
  • Using this knowledge as a foundation for plans to create products whose form, content, and behavior are useful, usable, and desirable, as well as economically viable and technically feasible

This definition is useful for many ...

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