Sometimes, when it comes to design, most designers are faced with the kind of choice that just about anybody can be faced with at some stage or another in their life: is it going to be better with better graphics and colours and trinkets and bells and whistles or is it going to be better because it’s easy. Whilst I by no means am going in the direction of discussing the simplification of design, for that’s an entirely different school of thought, but rather talk more about the intuitive feel of design that almost all designers want to achieve out of their final products.
I recently read an article on Smashing Magazine that asked whether people would choose something because it looked better or because it was simply easier to analyse. The article is interesting and well-written and puts me in a somewhat thoughtful mood about the nature of design and the designers behind them. Can a designer sometimes lose sight of the core of the design, which is to make it the best experience possible for the user, because they’re wanting to move to a higher, purer level or art? If you browse around the internet, you’ll find a whole lot of websites that are beautiful and complicated and filled with a depth of design that is startling. And intimidating. I eventually find myself wondering away from a design that seems imbued with the artistic spirit of the designer far too much.
I’m much more partial to a design that yes, does contain some of that creative ability that makes design exactly what it is, but that sense of art comes from the design itself and how it inspired me, and not because of anything the designer had done to overly inspire a sense of appreciation in me. It is, I think, the mark of a true designer. That kind of subtlety is incredibly difficult to imbue into a design unless, of course, you’re doing it completely for the user, with their feelings and their responses in mind. That’s the true definition of intuitive design, whether most think it has something to do with navigation or not.
Rather, intuitive design is something is something that sparks a sense of relative in the user. A sense that they can understand this design and navigate onwards with an ease and proficiency that come entirely from that subtle sense of emotion a designer has to imbue in their work to get the best results. So do we take the option that’s easiest to asses? Of course we do. It’s what comes after we’ve selected that option that matters, of course.