Magic, information and interaction design

20 February, 2012     /

All projects require a focus on the result you need to achieve and the audience that the product is being designed for. It’s only then that you can combine and negotiate the needs of both client and audience to ensure that they intersect and the solution is a success.

That’s a bit of a jargon-laden way of saying that a good project should take what the client wants and design the solution that will be most successful by naturally appealing to the audience.

My hobby is researching, writing about and inventing magic tricks. Some people think magic is about misdirection – but, just like great design and content it is really about managing attention, directing it away from the action at times, but always having it under control.

Magic is about making the possible seem impossible, while design is about creating a similar ‘intuitive inevitability’. Both design and magic ask the creator to shape a product that will complement the needs of the audience, while at the same time leading inevitably to a desired outcome. Audiences shouldn’t feel bullied or manipulated, they should feel as though the experience just ‘flowed’. The audience should feel in control, but drawn to where you want them to go.

My experience has taught me that people tend to react in set patterns – and this is great news for both content design and magic. Using experience-based techniques to give you a head start when trying to design and influence human behaviour increases both success and efficiency. There’s no substitute for experience and by bringing creativity and imagination to projects allows you to build on top of these patterns to reach solutions efficiently, while still achieving originality and freshness that can delight and surprise users and audiences alike.

I’ll soon be blogging about how heuristics can inform the design process, and about how by following general principles clever designers and content managers can construct optimal experiences.

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