At the Ted2014 conference in March, well known artist, designer and technologist John Maeda was quoted as saying, “Technology is not enough; design matters even more now. Right now is a golden age where the economic impact of design is going to be true.” He should know. Maeda was president of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in the US for six years before leaving to work as a Design Partner for legendary Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers.  His role is to define design in the context of technology and business. Prior to RISD, Maeda spent 13 years at the MIT Media Lab as a professor and head of research. There he also led the Aesthetics and Computation research group, which pioneered new kinds of human expression on the web.

“People think of design like doughnuts–excessive, sweet and kind of irrelevant sometimes,” said Maeda. But design is the reason we want to buy things; therefore, he concludes, “You need design from the beginning.”

Most technology companies put function before design. Yet companies, like Apple, that prioritise design and the end user experience have enjoyed huge success. Facebook is another tech giant that understands the importance of designing for the user experience. When Facebook decided to redesign its ‘Like’ button, the designer put in an estimated 280 hours to redesign it. Why so much time for one button? Because, “When you’re designing for the world, there’s no such thing as a small detail,”says Facebook head of product design Margaret Gould Stewart. The Facebook Like button and the Share button that accompanies it are seen on average 22 billion times a day and on over 7.5 million websites. “It’s probably the single most viewed design element ever created,” says Stewart.

Design is what separates good technology from great solutions that deliver desired business outcomes. Like Maeda said, it’s not enough to develop high-performing software if it is not well designed and easy to use. If you don’t design with the end user in mind, you risk resistance and low adoption of the technology from the target you are trying to reach. That’s why at ClearPoint, we insist on great User experience and User interface (UX/UI) design in all that we do.  We believe that no matter how complicated the technology is at the back end, it should provide a straightforward, effortless and beautifully designed user experience. We keep the end user in sight at all times and develop software that is intuitive and easy to use, which results in increased technology adoption, which in turn delivers the business results our clients want.

Now more than ever, it’s the golden age of design in technology. And for companies who know how to intersect the two, the results speak for themselves. ClearPoint won the award for innovation at the 2014 Fonterra Vendor Awards for our design and build of Global Dairy Trade’s online dairy commodity trading platform. Our UI design work has also set new standards and become the benchmark for all customer-facing portals at client SuperChoice, Australia’s leading superannuation management and clearinghouse service.

If you’re looking for software solutions that deliver both performance and design, give us a call at ClearPoint. We’d love the challenge of setting new design benchmarks at your company.

Karin is a user interface/user experience (UI/UX) development expert at ClearPoint. Her passion is creating beautifully designed, user-friendly interfaces that make it easy for people to use ClearPoint’s exceptional software.

Technology and Design Blog series – Part 1 of 3

Up next, Part 2: Simplicity Sells – Designing for the User Experience