Designing for Capability

Ryan Singer – product designer at 37 Signals – explains what is that needs more of UI designers attention, and it’s not pixel perfect design, it’s making a user capable to performing intended task.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with details when you’re designing a UI. That’s why I try to keep hold of which things “really matter” and continually come back to them. In a software tool, the important things are the capabilities you give your users.

Designing with capability in mind helps us focus on the problem we are trying to sovle:

When it comes to design, thinking about the capability you are affording can help you refocus when you’re lost in details. Designing isn’t just pushing pixels around and playing with type. Ask yourself: does this change affect whether a user can discover the feature? Does it clarify how to operate it? What am I helping them do right now?

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