Chapter 8. Synthesizing Good Design: Principles and Patterns

In the last four chapters, we discussed how to appropriately sequence the decisions to define and design a desirable and effective product. But how do we make these decisions? What makes a design solution good? As we’ve already discussed, a solution’s ability to meet the goals and needs of users while also accommodating business goals and technical constraints is one measure of design quality. But are there recognizable attributes of a good solution that enable it to accomplish this successfully? Can we generalize common solutions to apply to similar problems? Are there universally applicable features that a design must possess to make it a “good” design?

The answers to these questions lie in the use of interaction design principles and patterns. Design principles are guidelines for design of useful and desirable products, systems, and services, as well as guidelines for the successful and ethical practice of design. Design patterns are exemplary, generalizable solutions to specific classes of design problems.

Interaction Design Principles

Interaction design principles are generally applicable guidelines that address issues of behavior, form, and content. They encourage the design of product behaviors that support the needs and goals of users, and create positive experiences with the products we design. These principles are, in effect, a set of rules based upon our values as designers and our experiences in trying to live ...

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