I'm Predrag Klasnja, an assistant professor in the School of Information, at the University of Michigan. I'm excited to offer you this course on the design process as it is practiced in the field of interaction design. In this lecture, we will start thinking about the design in more general terms. In rest of this course, we will delve more deeply into the various aspects of the design process. So, to get this started, imagine that you're working for a company that is designing a new mobile app for weight management. Think for just a couple of minutes how would you figure out what that app needs to do and how it should do it. What's important to note is that in the form that they gave it to you, this problem is highly under-specified. I didn't tell you what population you're working with, what the criteria of success might look like or the various other kinds of factors that might affect the nature of the solution. Although in this particular case, you get very little information. Many design problems end up having a very similar form, in that they're under-specified and do not have all the relevant information when they're first presented to the designers to allow them to come up with an effective solution. These kinds of problems were called by Horst Rittel, who was a policy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, wicked problems. Wicked problems have several key characteristics. They're often ill-defined and under-specified. So, they do not contain enough information to fully flash out what the problem is. They often don't have a right or wrong solution. So, there is a range of better or worse solutions to a problem, but never really a definitive solution to the problem. They're highly contextually dependent. It means that their form changes to some extent based on what exact population. The problem is dealing with in what cultural context, what social context and so on. So, even though the problem itself might look the same from a 30,000 foot view such as weight loss, that problem is going to look different based on whether we're dealing with a population of healthy adults versus patients with diabetes, versus the elderly who were living in retirement homes and so on. Finally, wicked problems often don't have a clear task for solutions. So, there's no real clear criteria for when the problem is solved, which makes them highly complicated as a class of problems. One way to think about design is that this is a process that allows solving of wicked problems like the one that we presented a couple of slides ago. In other words, design can refer both to a process that allows creation of objects and artifacts that solve a particular problem, as well as to those objects and artifacts that are in a fact designed. So, let's think a little bit more deeply about both of those senses of design. Into sense of an outcome, probably one of the best articulations of this meaning of design that I've seen comes from the former CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs. Jobs said that "Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it's veneer- that the designers are handed this box and told, 'Make it look good.' That's not what we think design is. It's not just what it looks like and feels like, design is how it works." In other words, what Steve Jobs is pointing to here is that design really is ultimately about creating functionality, deciding how a particular object or an artifact is supposed to work to fulfill its function. A similar sentiment was expressed by Charles Eames, one of the preeminent designers of the mid 20th century, who said that "Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose." This notion of a purpose, the particular function that an object is supposed to serve, is really a fundamental concept of design. Another important aspect of design is the fact that it deals very centrally with a context in which a problem is located. So, Christopher Alexander, who was an architecture professor at Harvard in the 1970's, said that "Every design problem begins with an effort to achieve fitness between two entities, the form in question and its context." Context is a central aspect of the design, and it refers to the situations and the circumstances in which the object that is being designed is intended to be used. Just to get an intuitive sense of this, think about a piece of technology that is being developed and how that technology might work differently if it's intended to be used in a quiet office, where a person using the technology has privacy, has access to flat surfaces, where the technology can rest and manipulate it with both hands, versus a technology that's serving the same purpose. For example, scheduling or communication, that is intended to be used on a busy city streets with all the noises while the person is walking or when the person does not have privacy that one has in a private office. So, what this indicates is that in many ways design is always a compromise as Bill Buxton, who is one of the prominent interaction designers of our time puts it. Every design problem is going to be shaped by constraints, the various forces and influences that determine how a solution might need to work. One way to think about design is that design is concerned with creating solutions that strike a balance between various constraints that are pulling on the design problem. In other words then, design is about creating things that fulfill their purpose well, given the various constraints that are shaping that design problem. To design effectively, designers have to acquire a number of core skills. Bill Moggridge, an interaction designer who started the design firm IDEO, states that there are about five core design skills that are developed in the course of design education. The first of them is the skill of framing or re-framing the problem or the objective. As we saw earlier in this lecture, problems themselves rarely come fully formed. It is the task of the designer to understand what exactly the central aspects of a problem are, and what aspects of that problem the designer is going to be focusing on in his or her search for the solution. Another key aspect of design is the ability to create and envision various alternative solutions to a design problem. We'll be coming back to this in the next week of this course. But, the notion of ideation, creation of a lot of solutions, potential solutions, is a absolutely key aspect of how the design process works. Another core skill of designers is the ability to select among those various alternative solutions in a principled way. The ability to articulate trade offs of different design solutions, seek out various design solutions affect the system as a whole is a key component that is rarely explicitly taught but that designers have to learn as they progress through the design education to be able to design effectively. Finally, the ability to visualize and prototype intended solutions and then try those solutions so that they can be refined over time in order to synthesize robust and polished solution are both aspects of the design education that we'll be focusing on later on this course. Interaction design as a discipline applies these core design skills to the creation of interfaces for computational artifacts. In other words, interaction design applies a set of core design skills to a specific domain, the domain of creation of computational artifacts. Although the underlying design process is very similar to what we find in other design disciplines such as architecture, graphic design or industrial design. Although, the core processes is very similar, interaction design also contains some specific elements such as creation of scenarios, such as the use of personas, that were adopted by an interaction designers to allow them to more effectively work in the content domain that they're focusing on; namely creation of computational artifacts that individuals use in their daily life and their work lives. In the rest of this course, we're going to be delving more deeply into various aspects of how the design processes is practiced within the domain of interaction design.