Fuseproject founder Yves Béhar, the creator of the Jawbone headset and the $100 laptop, shares the seven principles that define his unique approach to the design process. His vision is one of "holistic making" in which the designer is involved from beginning to end -- from defining the business model to designing the product to manufacturing to marketing. By "being there all the way," Béhar believes that designers can create great products and accelerate the adoption of new ideas.
Thinking that process is a silver bullet that can fix everything is sort of like early economic theories that presumed that accurate predictions of markets can be made without incorporating human behavior. You need to factor in the people and the business culture using the process. Many, if not most software businesses are conducted in a waterfall way even though the product they are making may be built using an agile process. The power of agile as well as the meaning of the word implies flexibility, which is why switching an IT department to an agile process alone doesn’t make for a successful software product. For the business to optimize it’s success it needs to listen to the feedback and adapt it’s products, goals and sometimes even budgets.
“Consistency” is a popular word used among designers. It’s also a popular excuse to use to not think deeply about the design problems users face. What’s the benefit of following a design convention, if one doesn’t know why that convention exists? How does one even know if a certain platform convention is right for users in the first place? What if a certain design convention is harmful to users? Should designers blindly follow it for the sake of consistency? Should bad design practices and lack of design understanding persist because designers want to resort to platform design consistency as the answer to every problem?
The true beauty of any great digital product lies in the intersection between these various aspects. Without people understanding the big picture of how a modern web project works, from top to bottom, there is bound to be failure at these all-important integration points.
“Hiring a designer to create wireframes is like hiring a carpenter to swing a hammer. We all know that the hammer-swinging is not what matters: it’s the table, the cabinet, the deck. Clients don’t hire us to wield hammers, but to create fine furniture. It’s not the process they need or the tools, but the end result.”