Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Five Essential Design Skills

Last week was CHI 2007 in San Jose, CA. The opening plenary address on Monday was given by Bill Moggridge, one of the founders of IDEO. Bill is also widely known as the industrial designer of the world's first laptop computer (circa 1979).

Much of Bill's talk centered around a list of 5 essential design skills. Bill said the list emerged through several conversations he had with Chris Conley (bio, blog) of the IIT Institute of Design. Here they are (all transcription errors are my own):

  1. To frame or reframe the problem or objective.

  2. To create and envision alternatives.

  3. To select from these alternatives, knowing intuitively how to choose the best approach.

  4. To visualize and prototype the intended solution.

  5. To synthesize a solution from all of the relevant constraints, understanding everything that will make a difference to the result.

Bill used video clips from the DVD included in his new book, Designing Interactions, to illustrate each point. Brilliant. I have the book (a post on that topic sometime soon, I promise), but probably would never have cracked open the DVD if not for seeing these snips. Hearing Larry Tesler describe the night that Bill Atkinson invented pull-down menus during the development of the Lisa is alone worth the price of admission.

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