Resnik’s Design for Communication

When considering a new design problem, the first step is to generate as many ideas as possible. At first, lists of words and webs of concepts are helpful in getting out a large number of ideas. Next, many thumbnails should be generated. Enough should be made such that it is challenging to create new, unique solutions. Upon concluding the thumbnail sketching phase, layouts can be created to show the effect of a composition at full scale. These layouts are not of final quality, but are meant to give a general feel for how a design will read. Next, critiques of a few layouts should occur. The feedback can come at a time when it’s necessary to step back from the design. Upon giving a composition a break, fresh eyes will make for a stronger final iteration. The final iteration, or comprehensive, is finished to high quality such that the idea is clearly conveyed.

Identifying Communication Design

Effective Design:

AED Sign
A sign employing the universal defibrillation symbol.

This signage is clear and simple. It displays information that can be interpreted quickly, as its moment of applicability occurs only in emergency. The symbol of a heart with the symbol for electricity signifies the purpose of the sign. The three letters AEB, abbreviating Automatic External Defibrillator, are known by a wide enough slice of the population to be meaningful.

Ineffective Design:

LS-PrePost Screen Shot
A screenshot of a very non-intuitive piece of software

During the summer I was making use of the above piece of software. The interface was awful. Without any prior experience with this program, understanding its functionality, capabilities, and purpose was very difficult. The layout of the various buttons, text fields, and graphical elements made for a nightmarish user experience and hurt productivity. Elements of the interface were truncated beyond comprehensibility. Abbreviations, acronyms, and ambiguous labeling without appropriate documentation made the software unapproachable and frustrating.