Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Holistic Design

I've been thinking a lot about what holistic design means and what it incorporates. While I know that the deliverables make up the tangible parts of design, there's also that innate understanding, that magic that happens when I go through all the data and all the analysis, and that whole process becomes something beyond myself, something that uses up all my faculties.

On the tangible side, the deliverables are quite simple - deliver results in a way that encompasses nearly every facet to paint the picture. This inherently also sells the process. Such deliverables and their benefits include:
  • - video footage of user testing - aids in proof of user actions and behaviors;
  • - actual scripts that delineates the user task set for testing - discloses the scientific method and its validity;
  • - compilation of the data and its analysis - introduces the thought processes (in design and the user) and frequent occurrences in user behavior;
  • - emotional metrics within its context - to learn how much users trust and feel about the application in certain instances, and how motivated they are;
  • - baseline expert review metrics - how do you know if you've improved if you don't know where you've been?;
  • - versions of the mockups, especially before and after, as well as the program/mockup used in the testing sessions.
As for the intangible parts of the process, this is where design sense comes in. Those who don't have it will struggle. Those who do have it and don't know it, won't struggle as much but the communication of it will be difficult. Those who have it and know about it will have a foundation to build upon so all the rest of the intangibles become tangible in a very instinctive way. Most of this can be communicated through design.

What I've been finding so far is that those whose approach is holistic, go farther than those who don't.

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