Designers’ Invisibility Cloak

October 28, 2009

I blogged previously about how computer engineers are out to make their product invisible. So are information designers.

Well, they want users to notice their design, of course. But they don’t want it to be obvious it’s been designed.

Users who easily find what they’re looking for don’t think about design. They move on to the next thing they’re looking for. Users who get confused or overwhelmed notice design. So, designers want their product to be invisible.

No wonder people think designing is easy. The harder designers work, the less obvious that work is. Kind of thankless, I suppose. Perhaps that’s why there are so many design contests. Designers can at least pat each other on the back if no one else will.

As a former copy editor, I can relate. If a copy editor does his job and stories are readable, thorough and free of mistakes, readers aren’t going to say, “Wow, what great copy editing.” But if an editor misses an error, or, God forbid, adds one, one can see readers saying, “Where was the copy desk?”

I edited this post. Did you notice? I hope not.

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