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July 11, 2005  Asking the Right Questions

John Maeda: "What is Design?"
Paul Rand: "Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions, there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated."

This excerpt is taken from a conversation between John Maeda and Paul Rand. I reflected back on this conversation after I had a discussion about design with Paul Rademacher.

Part of the process of working with form and content involves asking questions. I would prefer to work with people who ask the right questions and offer no answers, rather than those with many answers to the wrong questions.

In the field on interface design there are a number of easy answers that are best pushed aside in order to make room for better questions. What if a Windows application had no application menu? No Save command. What if it had no modal dialog boxes? What if it had no context menus? Asking the questions frames the problems to be solved in new ways. What begins as questions focused on limitations can become an opportunity for thinking more broadly about the problem.

What if you could only use gestures? Would your design become a morass of obfuscation?

Posted by johnnie at July 11, 2005 01:47 AM


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