Can't understand why younger kids love Facebook? Check out the video below about the potential collaboration between the current leaders of the right- and left-hand side of the brain. Paola Antonelli is New York MOMA's curator and she talks about how scientists and designers will work more together.
My background is firmly planted in the math and science world (left brain). My right brain awoke last year when my school attended the NAIS conference in New York City and Daniel Pink was the keynote speaker. Gary Natriello's Learning Opportunity design course at Teachers College has strengthened my belief that design is important. A recent article (link) hammers home the point in monetary terms.
What is Design?
Design has traditionally been a pedagogy in the arts, but many of its characteristics have relevancy in other subject areas. Design involves solving ill-formed problems, where there is not one ultimate answer. Rather, there are different possible solutions based on problem constraints. Design is iterative and "wrong" designs are not penalized. Designers are optimist. They want to take feedback and quickly create another iteration of their solution. It is not unusual for designers to work on a problem that changes - sounds authentic and similar to the world we live in. In designing for interaction by Dan Saffer, notes that interaction design is about behavior and facilitating interactions between people and products and services. Further, he points out the important attributes as: Motion, Space, Time, Appearance, Texture, and Sound. Saffer further defines interaction design as:
Why is Design Difficult?
Design is difficult because it is more art than science. Designers must iterate their work dozens and maybe hundreds of times. Revisions sometimes foster additional changes in the original project goals. In addition, larger projectscan undergo changes in constraints, such as budget, time, and social behavior. Some products and services are poorly designed and don't have don't have sustainability because they serve a purpose for a particular time and/or context. Moreover, technology frequently changes and sustainability can be achieved by not aligning with any medium in particular.
Why is Design Important?
The world is shrinking thanks to rapid improvements in computers and communications. Web2.0 tools are springing up daily and computer applications are migrating to cell phones and blackberries. Globalization increases market potential (consumers) and labor pools (workers). More and more manufacturing and business activities are being standardized and commoditized. More and more activities become candidates for automation or outsourcing. This means that the product intangibles will likely become more important in the success or failure of a product or service. Design is all about these intangibles related to customer experience. Design involves finding a solution, but not necessarily THE solution. It is well-suited for ill-formed problems, complex problems and problems that change while you are solving them. Design also involves collaboration and rapid iterations or prototypes. In short, design is an important 21st century literacy.