Digital Strategy

The Power of Design Intent: Guiding Projects and Designing with Purpose

16 August 2023 John Mallett

Design is a journey, and like any journey, having a clear destination in mind makes the entire process more meaningful and impactful. In this thought we delve into the concept of design intent and its vital role in guiding projects, ensuring consistency, and designing the right thing the right way.

‘Even if you do a brilliant job of building what you originally set out to build, if it is the wrong product, it still constitutes a failure. Likewise, you also fail if you build the right product the wrong way. Stated another way, we must adopt an approach that inherently aspires to get the right design as well as get the design right.’

A Sketch of the Process. Sketching User Experiences: getting the design right and the right design – Bill Buxton


Design Intent: A Foundation for Success

Design intent refers to the overarching vision and goals that drive a project from its inception to completion. It serves as the compass, providing direction and purpose to every design decision made along the way. Having a consistent set of goals, even if they evolve or change over time, is essential for achieving a successful outcome.

Setting Clear Goals

At the outset of any design project, it's crucial to define clear goals and objectives. What problem are you solving? Who is your target audience? What are the desired outcomes? By establishing these goals, you create a framework that ensures everyone involved is working towards a common vision.

Flexibility in Evolution:

While setting initial goals is essential, it's equally important to acknowledge that design projects can evolve and goals can change. This flexibility allows for adaptation to new insights, feedback, or emerging trends. Design intent provides a foundation that can be adjusted, ensuring that the project stays aligned with its purpose even as it transforms.


Designing the Right Thing

Designing the right thing entails creating solutions that genuinely address the needs and desires of the intended users. It requires a deep understanding of the target audience, their pain points, and the context in which the design will be experienced.

User-Centric Approach

Put the users at the heart of the design process. Conduct user research, gather feedback, and empathize with their experiences to gain valuable insights. This user-centric approach ensures that the final design meets their expectations and solves their problems effectively.

Iterative Prototyping and Testing

Designing the right thing involves an iterative process of prototyping and testing. Create prototypes early on to gather feedback, validate assumptions, and refine the design based on real-world user interactions. This iterative approach allows for continuous improvement and ensures that the final design aligns with the intended goals.


Designing it Right

Designing it right focuses on the execution and craftsmanship of the design. It involves paying attention to the details, adhering to best practices, and ensuring the final product is of high quality.

Attention to Detail

From typography to colour schemes, every detail matters. Paying attention to the small elements contributes to the overall user experience and demonstrates a commitment to excellence. Consistency in design elements and interactions creates a cohesive and polished end result.

Usability and Accessibility

Designing it right means creating designs that are intuitive, user-friendly, and accessible to all. Consider usability principles and accessibility guidelines to ensure that your design is inclusive and can be enjoyed by a diverse audience.

Design intent acts as a guiding force, providing purpose and direction throughout a design project. By establishing a consistent set of goals and adapting them as needed, designers can create solutions that meet the needs of users while maintaining a sense of purpose. Designing the right thing involves user-centricity, prototyping, and iteration, ensuring the final product aligns with the intended goals. Lastly, designing it right emphasizes attention to detail, usability, and accessibility, resulting in high-quality designs that make a lasting impact. Embrace the power of design intent, and let it drive your projects towards success.