EppsNet Archive: Design

Rough Layouts Sell the Idea Better Than Polished Ones


This was written by an ad man but I can see it applying to other endeavors, like designing a software interface: If you show a client a highly polished computer layout, he will probably reject it. There is either too much to worry about or not enough to worry about. They are equally bad. It is a fait accompli. There is nothing for him to do. It’s not his work, it’s your work. He doesn’t feel involved. If he doesn’t like the face of the girl in your rendering, or the style of the trousers on the man on the right, or the choice of the car he’s driving, he’s going to reject it. He won’t see the big idea. He will look at the girl’s face and think, ‘I don’t like her, this doesn’t feel right.’ It is very difficult for him to imagine anything else if what you… Read more →

Jim McCarthy on Steve Jobs


He was utterly intolerant and disdainful of, and even mean spirited about, mediocrity. Not a designer himself, but a sublime critical thinker, he totally focused his life’s work on design perfection. This intensity, obsessiveness, and his total lack of compassion about others’ inferior thinking resulted – over a period of about 25 years, in five or six truly, climactically great products (the reader – as an exercise – may figure out what they were, and why they make the cut.) — Jim McCarthy Read more →

User-Centered Design


Design should: Make it easy to determine what actions are possible at any moment (make use of constraints). Make things visible, including the conceptual model of the system, the alternative actions, and the results of actions. Make it easy to evaluate the state of the system. Follow natural mappings between intentions and the required actions; between actions and the resulting effect; and between the information that is visible and the interpretation of the system state. In other words, make sure that (1) the user can figure out what to do, and (2) the user can tell what is going on. — Donald Norman, The Design of Everyday Things Read more →

Design Questions


How does one design an electric motor? Would you attach a bathtub to it, simply because one was available? Would a bouquet of flowers help? A heap of rocks? — Professor Bernardo de la Paz Read more →

Design Milk


I recently added Design Milk to my RSS reader because I feel like innovative design ideas from other fields help train my brain to challenge assumptions . . . Read more →

Visualize the Properties


Imagine and identify the few properties of your product or service that will gratify the customer’s need. Visualize the properties, desire them yourself, and everywhere ensure and intensify their presence. — Jim McCarthy Read more →



As design thinkers, the problems we are trying to solve are rarely our own—they are those of a particular user; in order to design for the user, we must build empathy for who they are and what is important to them. . . . The best solutions come out of the best insights into human behavior. . . . We engage to… Uncover needs that people have which they may or may not be aware of Guide innovation efforts Identify someone to design for Discover the emotions that guide behavior — D.School Bootcamp Bootleg Read more →

Design Breakthrough of the Week


I saw one of these upside-down bottles at Black Angus the other night . . . The frustrated diner battling a ketchup bottle is part of our cultural vocabulary, and the solution turns out to be as simple as turning the problem upside down!? I couldn’t decide if this was a stroke of brilliance or whether we’re all fools for not thinking of it decades ago . . . Read more →