The Three Legs of Design

Frank Chimero, an incredibly talented designer, describes the three different legs of design; How it looks, how it responds, and how it behaves.

Looks - This is the skin of it, the shiny coat of paint that brings visual attention to the product. This is normally what “designers” think of the most when designing a product, they think about how it looks and stop here.

Responds - This, essentially, is the responsiveness of the product. If it's a website, its how it scrolls and how fast it loads. If it's a Mac, its how quick it starts up, how quite it is and how it responds very naturally to your touch. If it's a printed book, how does it feel when you open it for the first time? If this is an event, this is the direct interaction with the environment around you.

Behaves - This the experience of a product. Does everything make sense? Is there a theme that joins everything together? Are there consistent behaviors throughout the site, or product, or brand? Are things intuitive or are they designed thinking of the end user in mind?

So many times designers, and creators alike, stop at the first leg and let the rest haphazardly fall into place. What a shallow view of design. Dig deeper, put yourself in the consumers shoes and wrestle with the harder questions. Of course, here I'm reminded of this famous quote from Steve Job's:

Design isn't just how it looks, it's how it works.

Looks are one thing, experience is everything.