July 28, 2019

Digital Formgiving

How does one become a good digital product designer? I haven’t yet found a resource that has curated and distilled the body of knowledge needed for this and put it all in one place. And I am just talking about designing for the two screens we use most – our phones and our computers. Mediums like AR/VR are a whole other ting (nod to Taleb).

Digital product design draws from several existing design disciplines. At the very minimum it is graphic design (layout on a 2d surface), industrial design (an interactive product), architecture and urban design (navigation, branching pathways and experiences playing out over time). Let’s not even talk about the non-design disciplines like computer science, cognitive science and more.

To find a point of view that can scope this, I was looking for a term, and UI/UX just does not cut it. My current working phrase is ‘Digital Formgiving’. Not the best, I admit, putting this down as something to ponder upon.

Here are a few books resources that come to mind for me that each shine a light on some aspect of this discipline:

  • Shape Up by Ryan Singer
  • The UI Stack Chapter in the book Designing Products People Love
  • This essay about the lack of good design tooling
  • The Learning UI course and the Refactoring UI book/site
  • Christopher Alexander’s work which is MASSIVE.

More to be added. Just wanted to get this thought down.