Wired contributor Douglas van der Molen is one of those guys who was into design before it was cool. He'll tell you as much. In one of of his blog posts, the former Google employee talks about how he and many others were interested in the discipline long before the now-famous Silicon Valley companies like Apple and Google made good design one of their top priorities.
As such, he has an interest in avoiding trendier design tips and sticking with some basic advice. And that's exactly what he does.
At Sozo Design, we work with innovators to solve problems and create unique experiences for their customers. Many could benefit from the four points that van der Molen makes:
- Always look to improve. No designer will ever create the perfect product, and those who try may find themselves paralyzed by the pressure. But every designer should strive to make their product a little bit better.
- "Embrace empathy." It's easy to make a product that satisfies everything you have ever wanted. But what about the consumer? Do you know enough about their desires to create something that they will want to buy? If you can't answer that question now, don't proceed any further until you can.
- Anyone can design. Don't let your start-up divide itself between the designers and everyone else. Anyone can pitch a good idea. In fact, it often helps to gather opinions from those who have not been thinking about the same basic principals for the past several months.
- Above all, prioritize beauty. Van der Molan's example is that of the classic thermostat. Though many electronic models have come and gone, consumers still seem to prefer the simple circular model that have been featured in homes for decades. He credits companies like Nest for taking that design, adding some polish, and creating truly beautiful products that people will instinctively know how to use.