So there has been a lot of talk lately as to what is the best approach to digital design. Should it be user focused? Should it be data driven? How much does any of that matter? Can data driven design be the wrong approach?
Well last night my wife (@alexaseretti) and I got into a discussion about a 3rd type of designer or design team. The GENIUS DESIGNER. From a great article by Jared Spool:
Genius design is a sophisticated approach to making design decisions. Through deep study of similar projects, a team learns what works and what doesn’t. This makes the team more valuable over time, bringing it to a new level with every subsequent project. We’re seeing more teams take the plunge with the genius design approach. It’s a great way to move away from the commoditization of design work, while delivering real value to clients.
I personally consider myself a hybrid between a user focused designer and a genius designer (although I think that title is cheesy). My career has focused me on 4 particular “genius” subjects. Financial, eCommerce, Healthcare and more generically Branding. Any designer who has spent any amount of time with a client or working in-house has probably developed some of these “genius” skills.
I think this all leads me to the approach Google has taken in the past couple of years. It’s a cross between focusing on the user and the data but letting the designer, the “genius”, add their 2 cents. They can really help focus the design taking into consideration the other factors and adding a style to things that is just as important. This has proven to work for them and it shows.