“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It's not about money. It's about the people you have, how you're led, and how much you get it.” - Steve Jobs

An intro and a little bit of definition

Hi Everyone,

Well, I’ve realized lately that I have a lot on my mind when it comes to design and I want to be able to comment more formally on the things I see around me that have to do most directly with Interaction Design. Call this prep work for my upcoming graduate work in Industrial Design at Pratt. But there seems to be so much going on in our universe much of which is being commented on heavily by others, and I just think, I’ve got a bit I want to put into the coffers. I want to encourage people to comment.

What I realized when setting up this blog is the title sorta begs a lot of questions and I thought this might be as good as any place to start. So I’m starting right here–Engage!

“Engage”–What does this word really mean? What does it mean to design and why have I chosen it above other words or phrases like usable, useful, easy to use, pleasant, findable, etc. etc. To me this one word is an umbrella for the others. It does not necessarily mean that these other words aren’t valuable to the project ahead of us, but that they come to a balance during good design that the end result is “engage” (conjugate according to context).

Let’s break out the Meriam-Webster (new window). Wow! what a long definition. The ones that stick out for me are the words (synonyms): engross, involve, participate, guarantee, and finally, mesh.

Each one of these words in combination say something about a product where the user is “engaged”. A product gets a user involved, meshes with their life, allows them to participate, gives them a brand guarantee (security), and if truly successful engrosses the user so that they do not even realize they are using something special, different, or previously unavailable before. To do this of course will require, usable, pleasant, useful, etc. However, when we look at “engage” we encapsulate all those and then some.

So this is why I choose this word as my success target in a single word.

Let’s get at it … — Engage!

(Yes, all implicit references to Capt. Jean-Luc Piccard are not accidental, though I don’t think there is any copyright violation in the use of a single word that I am aware of. I would love a call from the folks at Viacom/Paramont to come knockin’; hopefully with a job offer.)

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