Design Element
Comment on "Measuring the Design Process"
by LKM — Mar 22
I agree with Romme Abesames. There's a false dychotomy underlying this post.

True, design is about creativity and ideas and things which can't be measured. But just like code runs on an application, your design "runs" on humans. Humans parse your design and execute actions based on what they perceive.

And this can be measured.

It's true that "humans do not operate solely on reason and logic," but this does not contradict the idea that design can be measured. As an example, if you have two different designs and test both designs with a random sample of people, one of the two designs will on average be more successful in guiding humans to their goals than the other one.

Interpreting the results of these tests is "soft" (relying on feelings and instinct) but the test results themselves are "hard" (as in "scientific").

You write:

"Even more frustratingly, they often lie to you about their reactions because they don't want to be seen as imperfect."

Yes, users lie, which is why you never rely on what users *say* :-)

You write:

"Data and measurements are essential in software, and can take you a long way on their own. But feelings and instincts are necessary too if you want to do something remarkable."

But feelings and instincts are important when designing code, too. There's really not such a huge difference between designing for computers and designing for humans. Both require ideas and creativity and feelings and instincts, but both result in a "thing" which can be tested and measured.

Usability tests and iteration and data are an essential part of great user-centric design.

Designers don't design in a vacuum. That's what artists do. Designers create functional objects which are used by humans and which need to be usable for humans. And that is something that can and should be measured, just like the efficiency of code can be measured.
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