Design vs engineering thinking. We often hear terms like user-centric design or information architecture. However, "user-centric" and "information architecture" often mean very different things. In this article, we'll talk about engineering versus designing.
Information architecture focuses on how users will use a system, and so forth. Designing on the other hand focuses on how systems will be used and so forth. As you'll see below, an important central verb to remember is empathizing. Thus, the conceptual difference between engineering and design makes it plain why some technological solutions are never implemented or aren't used at all.
Designing relies on many things like user experience, aesthetics, etc, and so forth. Engineering, on the other hand, relies more heavily on functionality. In fact, the functionality is often considered to be an inherent part of designing, as in "building a bike that doesn't fall over". This may seem silly, but when discussing the differences between engineering and design, it's important to remember that functionality is at the heart of most technological breakthroughs - things like the Internet or mobile phones are completely incapable of doing things like creating facial expressions or playing music, which were simply impossible to implement without an engineering degree.
The key difference between the two is this: engineering requires a specific programming language to specify how a system will work. Designing requires no such language. So basically, the first type of system design is significantly more user-centric than the second. By contrast, the second type of system design almost always relies on some sort of computer program to specify how a system should work.
User experience is heavily dependent on how well a user is able to utilize a given system. For instance, a car designed to fit into the lane next to your vehicle is far less likely to fail a driver than one that simply won't open up. The same is true for websites. If the site is poorly designed or doesn't function properly, then that website simply won't attract any traffic, which means that the company loses out on potentially profitable customers.
Design is more about aesthetics and interface, where engineering tends more to focus more on functionality. User experience can be affected by the design of the website, as well. A site that is badly designed may prevent visitors from using it due to slow loading speeds, overly complicated interfaces or confusing menus. Likewise, a website that allows too much contact information may deter potential customers. Thus, although the two are often thought of as being fundamentally different, they're actually very closely connected.
As mentioned earlier, the design is often considered to be more user-centric than engineering. While design is important to the success of the product in question, the user experience is key to understanding and making good use of that product. Designers are often tasked with improving the usability of a product, while engineers are often tasked with improving its functionality. Therefore, it is not entirely surprising to find that many companies split their functional areas between a graphics team and an engineering team.
In summary, engineering vs design aren't that clear-cut. While there are definitely differences between the two disciplines, they are often brought together to form a complete picture. When looking at products or services, both engineering and design must play a vital role. However, the differences between them are often small and easily overcome with good communication and strategic planning. Hopefully this article has helped shed some light on this topic and provided you with further insight.
One key difference between the two is often the focus of the designers on the end user. User focus is especially important in products and services which are focused upon letting the customer "do their own thing". Designers are often required to focus on creating a product that is clearly functional, aesthetically pleasing, and comfortable to use. They often have less flexibility when it comes to creating a visually appealing product. This focus is important, but it's not the only one. Product development needs to be fun and exciting for the target market!
Another key difference between engineering vs design is often a function of scope. In many cases, product development is a joint effort between the engineering department and design department. The goal is to ensure that the final product meets the demands of the customers. Sometimes the two departments do not collaborate fully or are not even aware of a need for additional functionality. In these situations, the engineering vs design distinction becomes very apparent.
While the answer to "engineering vs design" often depend upon the product in question, one thing that always needs to be true is that people want to feel comfortable using the product. That means the functional requirements of the end user are often going to be very important. While you may be able to focus primarily on making the product work, without too much worry about aesthetics or usability, it's important to remember that a great deal of function depends on a user being comfortable using it. If they're not, the product simply won't sell.