Designing for the Digital Age: Sample chapter available!

On Wednesday, we celebrated the release of Designing for the Digital Age, a comprehensive how-to for getting great products built. The release party was hosted by Autodesk in their amazing new Gallery at One Market in San Francisco. The Gallery is filled with cool toys and overlooks the Bay, so it was a pretty ideal setting in which to host a couple hundred of our closest interaction design friends. Big thanks to our friends at Autodesk for a memorable night!

Designing for the Digital Age launch party
Scenes from Wednesday night’s party at the Autodesk Gallery. More on Flickr.

Download the chapter here.
[PDF, 1.4MB, requires Acrobat 7 or higher]

Check it out, and let us know what you think. It’s entitled “Designing the Form Factor and Interaction Framework,” and it contains a discussion of the tools and techniques for generating and iterating design directions. If you’re wondering what you’re getting into, here’s an excerpt from the Introduction.


Excerpt: Why this book

Every designer has the power to improve or even preserve life for some segment of humanity. Unfortunately, even the best designers can’t design everything, and good designers are in limited supply. I also know plenty of potentially great designers who simply don’t have the tools they need to make sure their designs see the light of day. This is especially true in our current digital age, when many design problems require the application of multiple disciplines, including interaction design, visual and information design, information architecture, industrial design, and more. Users have only one experience of a product or service, though, so this book attempts to include the perspectives and activities of all of these disciplines. (However, given that industrial design and graphic design make use of long-standing, well-understood methods, I have not attempted to address those disciplines in the broad sense,
but only as they relate to interactive products and services.)

Although I love the ability to influence lives through doing meaningful design, I learned long ago that I can influence even more lives by helping other designers be more effective. My aim with this book is to help as many designers as possible make a
difference in the world. Because designers cover a wide range of experience and skills, experienced designers may find that some parts of the content are merely useful refreshers. However, each chapter of the book includes content that I hope will:

  • Help experienced designers be both rigorous and persuasive in their practice, to ensure not only that they’re doing great design, but that their design gets built
  • Give designers from different disciplines a shared framework for collaborating on today’s increasingly complex products, which often combine software, hardware, services, and environments
  • Help design students understand not only a coherent design process, but also the essential practices—from collaboration and project management to leading stakeholder discussions—that make real projects successful
  • Show consulting designers how to engage with clients for the long term
  • Help in-house designers see how consulting practices can make them more effective

Design is not—and never will be—a science. It will also never be a cookie-cutter process that anyone can do with an appropriate checklist in hand—the method doesn’t make the design, the designer does. This book cannot give you the imagination and aptitude for visualization, nor can it give you the judgment and mastery of craft that only come with experience. However, I hope what you’ll take from this book will help you more reliably design the right product or service, design it well, and get the design out into the world where it can improve the quality of human lives.

3 Comments

Rimantas
Just curious why this "requires Acrobat 7 or higher". I do not have Acrobat on my system (Mac runing OS X 10.5 aka Leopard) and I am not going to install it. PDF shows up in Preview.app just fine, but am I missing something?
Chad Vavra
I got my copy of Designing for the Digital Age from Amazon on Friday of last week and it's already proved to be a valuable addition to my shelf. Just today I found myself jumping ahead to give people inspiration for approaching clients and stakeholders with designs. Another fine reference from Cooper.
Gemma
My copy arrived this morning - already very impressed!

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