Deconstructing design: How did we get from there to here

Mar 2005: Information architecture summit 2005. Montreal, Canada

There is a creative step that occurs between research activities and a draft design. During this step we combine what we have learned during research with our professional experience to create a new design (such as an information architecture or a page layout). For newer designers, this step is a mystery – a magical process in which research goes in and a design emerges. In attempting to break it down to make the process more approachable, it sometimes appears that particular activities (for example a card sort) lead directly to design outputs (an information architecture). In practice, this is not the case – a wide range of activities provide input for each element of the design.In this presentation, I will show a number of completed site designs that I have been involved in during the past year. For each, I will ‘deconstruct’ each design – pull it apart to show how various inputs (such as research, activities, politics, guidelines, previous experiences) informed the design. The presentation will highlight that each design element is informed by more than one input; and that each input contributes to more than one part of the design. It will also show how important it is to undertake a range of research activities and not rely on just one or two inputs.

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