The user oriented, process oriented information designer

SmartMonkey Media: Return on Design

Finished reading Ani Phyo’s book “Return on Design.” I had been down this path so many times. Coming up on several projects for 2004, I had glanced at some of the excerpts for this book and decided it was high time to refine and solidify my design methodology, and this book looked like it would fit the bill nicely.

I see two ways of building a website. (Well, there’s that third way of designing, by sticking yourself in a closet and dreaming up whatever you think might work, and throwing it out there without a care, but we won’t go there…) One is to start building, gathering feedback along the way while the site is live, and constantly fine-tuning. This can work for smaller sites and certain specialty topics that can afford to have little gremlins and oddities appear now and then to the audience. The other way is to use this process, which really works for the larger and more formal site needs where you can’t afford to screw up.

The best takeaway for me on this book was the high-level outline that she defines for the whole process. Nice to see it in print, after doing something along these lines for so long. But I always felt like I was flying by the seat of my pants and never had the time to nail down the process step by step. Ani does it for me in this book, and I’m glad to have read this one cover to cover. I feel like I can glance at the table of contents and the flowcharts to keep me on track, and go back and drill down back into each chapter for details when I get back there. Great book for the most part, although sometimes the details were not quite the way I’d do things. And that’s a good thing – no two designers should have the exact same methodologies, or there would be little variety out there and less differentiation of style. Highly recommended for anyone that is involved in the design of a site of any size, and especially for the larger ones.