5 Designs for each question

I’m watching the video where Bill Buxton is speaking during the key note of day 1 at Mix ’09 and one of the things that he mentions is the need to provide 5 different designs for every question posed by a client.  Worded otherwise, 5 different potential solutions to fit the needs requested. 

He continues forward showing a very crazy basic example of transition states using post-it-notes to portray his point.  But I wanted to articulate here a bit of a prerequisite to be able to do the mentioned 5 different possibilities.

Many of my design peers, however they start out in design, whether it be by going through college, by necessity because their employer saw something in them that they didn’t necessarily see for themselves and so they sort of just ended up happenstance in the design field, or because they’ve been seeking and studying design out of a pull in that direction and thrive on it – whatever the case may be, in order to come up with 5 variances to a single design request, one must have exposure to possibilities.  It is far too frequent that a layer of tunnel vision is placed over the eyes and ideas of someone in design, because that’s how the clients have requested things time and time again.  To break out of that, one must look at many other’s work or even see everything in life as a possible thing to be put into design.  Its not all drop-down menus from the top, yet most programs created today have just that.

To create these 5 variations, one must have obtained the experience either by going through the motions on the fly themselves for years and years of design, or they must go out and look at every range of programs from the gamer’s favorite game, to the college student’s final project and even watch the transitional effects seen in movies and commercials and then use every element, every visual stimulation, the bad and the good, and use that as a cue – apply the inspiration to the quick designs.

For someone like Bill Buxton who’s been in design for years, that could be easy.  But what about the newly graduated college student?  Lets hope that there is forgiveness and someone on the front lines to initiate these design concepts to the client while the design infant assists with implementation to allow them to see and experience the various differences in design put forth by the more advanced designer.

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