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Episode #53 Visual Design Misconceptions with Luke Wroblewski

July 30, 2008  ·  34 minutes

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“Can you make the logo bigger?” Heard that one before? So have we. This week, we talk with Yahoo!'s Luke Wroblewski, an expert on visual design on the web, about the misconceptions that about around this topic!

Show Notes

“Can you make it look pretty?”
“Can you make the logo bigger?”
“Can you make this more discoverable?”
“Can you make that pop?”

Heard these before? Or said them? In this week’s show, our friend Luke Wroblewski, Senior Principal of Product Ideation and Design for Yahoo, joins me to discuss visual design on the web. Luke shares his thoughts on the concept of visual design and it’s importance in helping users accomplish core tasks and strategic business goals.

  • Cues from Your Client such as “can you make this look pretty?” Do you understand why these common requests are red flags, and understand the danger in them? Visual design is more than just styling. A fresh coat of paint doesn’t solve core problems, good visual design can.
  • Design is Inevitable and not a step that can be skipped or filled in. It can be good or bad, but any product will have design as a component. Luke suggests there are some core principles that can be used to prioritize the presentation of information, actions and interactivity. One recommendation is to spend time with the team to prioritize what’s important about the project and keep that content independent of the design layout.
  • Visual Design is a Priority. Uncover the importance of starting with visual design. Luke’s experience shows that in successful projects the visual organization needs to be a key consideration early in the process.
  • Do You Greek? When building something, such as a web page, be sure to include all the elements up front – even the text - to ensure that design will take into account every aspect. It’s important to use the visual presentation to form a hierarchy for this real information. Luke enforces the point that real elements and real constraints will help us understand if the end result will work.
  • Set Context Appropriately for the team. Skip “what do you think?” and paint the picture underlying the design. Those making suggestions on fonts, colors, and layout may not be comfortable making decisions on the strategic direction for the product so they stick to these minor aspects in which everyone can have an opinion. Decisions like these made in isolation don’t always yield overall coherent design or balance.

Luke Wroblewski is a Senior Principal of Product Ideation & Design for Yahoo and has his own shop, LukeW Interface Designs. He is the author of two books, the new top seller Web Form Design: Filling in the Blanks and the popular Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability.