Chapter 1. The Elements of Design: Think-Make-Check and the Four Models

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The Elements of Design: Think-Make-Check and the Four Models

To help your team build better products, they have to design better. Often, when we think about better design, we focus on the things we design. Do they work better, look better, feel better? Unfortunately, those design outcomes aren’t what designers do.

In this chapter, we’ll look at two foundation concepts:

  • What you do when you design: Think-Make-Check
  • What you do it to: users, interfaces, interactions, and systems—design’s four models

These two concepts form the foundation for everything else in this book and help your team communicate and collaborate better when they build new products.

Think, Make, Check: What Designers Do

Let’s say you design a fancy coffee mug with a new kind of handle,1 and want to know if the new handle is easy to use. Is it better to ask people if it’s easy to use? Or is it better to watch and see if they have any trouble?

Of course, it’s better to watch what people do than it is to ask them. When you watch people, you see what they do. When you ask them, you hear what they hope to do. Watching people reveals their behavior. Behavior is what you want to affect.

If you ask a designer what they do, they talk about user experience or being user-centered or representing the user or empathy or whatever. That’s what ...

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