Archive for September, 2009

Design at Facebook


A good summary of the Facebook design team’s philosophy and approach to design. There are quite a few that I have learned through my experience and would definitely agree with.

1. Share early and share often. Sharing with the team and users helps make the design better.

There is no perfect design and getting feedback from others never hurts. Feedback often provides fresh perspectives, helps you realize things that you might have missed and makes your design stronger. Even if all the feedback is what you’ve already thought of and considered in your design, it at least proves that your doing your job.

2. Get your hands dirty. Designers need to know how to code.

I think the point here is that an interactive, working prototype always provides much more information than static mockups. Often visually appealing interfaces just don’t work when you actually try to interact with it. Also, testing the design in the context and with real content reveals so much more information and validates the design. If designers can code and develop interactive prototypes on their own, have the ability to plug the design in to test it with real content, the iterative design process is much faster and effective at improving the design earlier on.

As mentioned in the article, understanding the medium is also important for developing realistic, applicable designs. Designers tend to err on the side of simplicity. A lot of this can be solved by developing interactive prototypes, testing the design in context and with real content and by understanding the medium. From my MHCI capstone project, I learned this as many more design issues were revealed after the design phase while actually developing the prototype.

3. Don’t fall in love with your design.

Another good point. This is also why a lot of the design work shouldn’t be done individually as designers tend to become attached to their own work. Developing concepts, drawing storyboards on your own before meeting as a group has always caused problems in my experience. Developing on top of each others ideas and making it the group’s idea instead of just one person’s idea is a key in successful design work as a group. Smart designers should also be aware of this and be willing to accept others ideas and that their own is never perfect.