“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

Oldie but goodie: When I’m asked to design a bridge …

With the currently running Design Challenge by Mozilla (Partnered with IxDA & JohnnyHolland) about Tabs I thought I’d share a core concept in doing design work. What are the latent design criteria not expressed in the request?

It is so important to understand this core component of design. It is an element that in my mind best defines how design differentiates itself from other creative endeavors. That is when listening to a request, the designer’s first goal is to ignore the direct meaning of the request and dissect its parts to understand the real problem(s) that need to be solved.

So the classic example stated in the design community is when asked to design a bridge, the designer goes back to design the best way to get from point A to point B. [I know this sentiment can be attributed to a single individual, but I can’t find the reference.]

We must always remember that as designers, we don’t design for the manifest problems, but for the real problems. To put it another way, the client says they may want the text bigger, but what they are really saying is that they want the text more readable.

And bringing this back to the Mozilla Design Challenge: don’t re-design tabs, but rather figure out what tabs solves and make THAT better.

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