Dan Mall: Web designers need to think differently about their design process to deliver better results
Dan Mall the acclaimed creative director and founder of SuperFriendly from Philadelphia rounded off the Future of Web Design conference with an impassioned plea to web designers to think differently about the process of design to deliver better results in their projects.
Saying that the web is currently suffering a severe lack of creative direction he suggested that design outputs are severely outdated.
Mall outlined a new set of working practices aimed at improving the way designers work with clients. This included that designers should aim for the highest quality in the shortest amount of time; they should remove abstractions so clients can understand what they are proposing; and open up more dialogue with their clients so they better understand the proposed solution.
He also suggested that designers need to do more planning through audience feedback and user group research. This should result in a project manifesto that sums up the goals and can act as a reference point throughout the process. It should say what you're going to do and more importantly what you're not going to do as the goals in the project.
A key element in the design process is prototyping and he offered three rules web designers should follow during this process: the prototype must take less than an hour to create and should be rough; it should be something anyone can build; and it should be built ugly so that the prototype can't be used as the finished design.
Too often he has seen finished designs that are based on a prototype because the project ran out of time and resulted in no time to go back and refine. However, Mall's logic is an ugly prototype will ensure designers will be forced to return to refine it.
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