machinespace = the networked information space of ever-increasing complexity that humans have to interact with.

August 17, 2004

Lessons from a webvet - Nico Macdonald

Nico Macdonald runs Spy, an UK based consulting firm. He's been in the trenches a long time, and over the years he has garnered nuggets of web wisdom which he presented at the University of Huddersfield to Multimedia Students earlier this year. The presentation was longer, and had much more context, of course.

I've paraphrased Nico's lessons a bit to save me some typing.. any inconsistencies or errors you notice are mine alone. Please excuse my impertinence, Nico.

Lesson 1: There are no absolute rules. All principles need to be interpreted according to the situation

Lesson 2: It is not print, and it is not about aesthetics

Lesson 3: Web design starts with a pencil

Lesson 4: Start off with something worth criticizing. You can't build up a design by starting with usability. "Usability is good at optimizing a given design. It can sand a rough chair into a smooth one, but it can't sand a table into a chair." quote from Robert Reimann, quoted in What is Web Design?

Lesson 5: Designers as leaders - you have to give your users credit for knowing what they need, and they may adapt what you create (paraphrased)

Lesson 6: Designers need to understand clients and their business and communicate effectively. Clients have other things to consider as well as your concerns. Design isn't always the most important thing. (design has a brief and a client, art may have a patron but there is no brief)

Lesson 7: It's important to understand technology. Engineering is part of design. Engineers tell you how to do something, designers look at what to do.

Lesson 8: The solution is less important than the planning and documentation for site support and development

Lesson 9: Web design cuts across organizational boundaries. Are we designing services and organizations or just a web site?

Lesson 10: The medium in which you work is not a given. The Web is not always the right solution.

copyright 2004 ajoy muralidhar. 10 Lessons of Web Design copyright Nico MacDonald of Spy.


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