Designers shouldn’t shoot from the hip

An article on how Google runs effective design meetings. I particularly like the quote:

Mayer discourages using the phrase “I like” in design meetings, such as “I like the way the screen looks.” Instead, she encourages such comments as “The experimentation on the site shows that his design performed 10% better.”

Art versus science. Here we go!

(I’ve got five bucks on science)

This discussion can be followed on typophile thread. I am posting a comment here instead as I wish the discussion on typophile to develop independently of my personal bias. Note that Larson is already taking part…

In order for data to be statistically significant one needs to have operational definitions, dependent and independent variables, a solid experimental design (counterbalanced, not confounded &c.) and a valid method of statistical analysis (such as a t-test or ANOVA) at the very least.

Without this designers risk taking random shots across the bow until their clients agree that their work has the right amount of “edginess, pizazz, or razzle-dazzle.” Ultimately this undermines our ethos as we simply end up consuming more of our earth’s finite resources in order to satisfy our clients’ personal preferences.

I agree with Larson in that art and science are complementary. Any scientist worth their salt will not refute the value of creativity. However, I strongly believe that until designers take a more disciplined, empirical and data-driven approach to their problem solving process we are spelling the demise for the bulk of our profession which includes academic institutions, educators, learners, practitioners, consumers and clients. In today’s times of environmental and economic peril we may want to give scientific method a more serious look.

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