Design by Understanding
Submitted by Pooja Saxena (@anexasajoop) on Friday, 18 October 2013
Section: Design Technical level: Beginner
To introduce the audience to the process of looking at the core content of their apps structurally and semantically as a stepping stone towards a consistent and easy-to-navigate design.
A large number of apps we use today act as vehicles for information or content of varying complexity, ranging from the time of day to the archive of a news publication. It is impossible to design such apps without understanding the content that forms their core first. This talk will offer an approach to designing Android apps that stems from the idea of “design by understanding”. It will address what understanding content means in this context and argue that the ability to understand content by describing and organizing it meaningfully is essential to being able to design well.
Rather than provide a rigid framework, the talk will encourage the audience to think about the content of their apps in terms of structure—how is it arranged and which parts carry more significance than others—and semantics—what meaning does it want to convey and how it tries to achieve that. Using real-world problems, it will illustrate how this thought process can highlight important relationships within the content, and suggest, among other things, ideas about how it can be presented and browsed. The cues collected from an exercise like this to understand the content are directly translatable to design. Finally, narrowing down to typographic design in apps, the talk will—with the help of examples—demonstrate how complex design decisions can be made simpler and better apps be designed by following such an approach.
Pooja Saxena is a typeface and typographic designer. She recently completed a stint as a participant of the GNOME's Outreach Programme for Women (OPW), where she improved GNOME's user interface font, Cantarell. She now works independently from Bangalore and New Delhi, and among other projects consults for the font team at Apple Inc., and runs The Ballot, a visual compendium of information about India (along with Nirbheek Chauhan). A graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (New Delhi), Pooja worked as a graphic designer at Ishan Khosla Design before pursuing her interest in type. She studied the MA in Typeface Design programme at the University of Reading (UK) after being awarded the Monotype Imaging Studentship in 2011, and then headed for Cupertino to work at Apple Inc.