We often complain about the multitude of limitations which we’re faced with every day as designers.
Limitations are abundant but are they really such a bad thing? Is it possible, even, that they actually produce far better results than if we did not have them?
Ikea for example, starts with price and then work backwards. Their main concern is the price of the product to the end user. It’s up to the designers to create something appealing which fits within that.
Sometimes Freedom Isn’t a Good Thing
Without constraints, things can get crazy. There is no better way of outlining this than by looking at a platform with generations of unrestricted designs that have been… well.. awful. We are of course talking about our old friend, Adobe Flash.
Now I’m not saying that all Flash sites are bad, or that all people who make them are bad designers. Nothing like that. The fact remains, however, that as a platform Flash has very few design limitations which has lead to some very questionable Flash sites in years gone by.
The sites I’m talking about are the ones which go full screen as soon as they load, have some crazy navigation that involves dragging a carrot over to a bunny rabbit and then waiting for a big animation to complete before the next page loads and you’re presented with equally confusing navigation options.
Designers of these types of interfaces often think they’re “fun” – but usability case studies frequently prove them to be nothing more than a visual explosion of terminal car accidents. Being able to do so much with Flash with relatively little effort is dangerous. It takes away the mentality of “What should I do?” and instead promotes the mentality of “What can I do?”
An animation, graphic, sound effect, or interaction without purpose isn’t design, it’s decoration. Unless what you’re adding to the design is in some way contributing to the message which you’re trying to convey to the user, it isn’t worth anything.
The most important part of any design is the message: good design sends the same message to everyone. It should leave no room for interpretation. Seguir leyendo “How Limitations Improve Design”