Our value
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-How Design adds value
-Why analysis matters
-Smart ways to use designers

Why analysis matters


-Establishing a sound foundation in the design process yields better results

Design should not be about guessing for a solution. The foundation to design for a need depends greatly upon clear understanding and articulation.

- Understanding –and defining– the problem

To understand a problem doesn't mean you have solved it. It is equally important to be able to communicate the meaning of that problem to others so that all stakeholders recognize and are able to provide their knowledge and input into shaping the solution. This is why defining the problem is a key part of the design process. Sometimes this involves taking the Scope of Work or Request for Proposal and reviewing it collectively, other times it means workshops, exercises and at length discussions between designer and client to think through the design problem and its various facets. A design process that does not start with a clearly defined problem is a gamble; there is no way of knowing whether the end result will really be effective.

- Research: Doing the homework

Design research is often the first item discarded when a design budget is set. Behind the scenes and off the clock, designers are researchers driven by creative curiousity into "how things work." Therefore on a certain level their creative ability enables them to invent and improvise on the fly, based on their knowledge and experience. There are however moments in the design process or certain aspects of design where research methods, empirical or impromptu, must be employed to establish an informed basis for a design. Some questions simply just can't be answered by a coin flip, especially when the stakes for operational success are high.

- Considering consequences

No design should be built without considering consequences. This entails a review that can be from a number of vantage points. Can the production be scaled? Who will benefit (or harmed) directly or indirectly? What is the environmental impact? Social impact? Even the matter of perception is important. How will the solution be received is equally significant as the solution's function.

-Showing the steps taken

Just as defining the problem is important, so too is defining the solution in a way that permits others to respond and build upon it. The analysis steps in a design process should be formulated and mapped, especially in particularly large, complex solutions. It is in this respect that including a manual or final design report can be valuable to the sustainability of a design effort well after its installation.