Thanks to the blog of my collegue Harry I picked up the Presentation Zen blog. It’s a great resource to improve presentation techniques and design in general (design as in making things look nice and simple). The blog put up a reference to a new collection of design resources: Design Education.
The blog entry also states that design is something that should be considered everywhere, not just in art school. E.g. reports, documents, presentations, even blog entries I suppose. 🙂 The blog calls it “raising the DQ (Design Quotient)”. Although I don’t think a good design is everything (content and function does actually matter more sometimes) I do agree that design often does not get enough attention.
Take for instance architecture documents or requirements documents. A lot of this kind of documents are so boring and over-complicated that people do not read them, or barely remember any of its contents. The documents are focused at being complete and correct. Being fun to read or easy to grasp usually is not something an architecture document writer cares about much. An often heard complaint is “lack of documentation”; most of the time though, the information is sitting somewhere, being overlooked by people who find it too boring to actually read and understand all the documentation.
A nice example of well designed documents are the articles written by Joel Spolsky. Most chapters of his classic book User Interface design for Programmers are available for free on-line, I consider it a must read for every developer. People really like to read Joels articles, and more important: remember the key points of the articles.
Ironically, the Design Education does not seem a nice designed web site to me. Ugly pink colours for links, too much text and scrolling around, and you can’t click on some text; you have to click on the PDF icons instead. I guess even they have room for improving their DQ! 🙂