The Power of Design

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The age old question of form over function is now moot. Good design melds form with function into easily accessible collateral. The impact of design on numerous facets of business and society is undeniable. Future technologies and industries like healthcare, finance and government can all benefit tremendously from the incorporation of design into their processes. The larger driving forces behind incorporating design into industry and ethics reflect cultural shifts that focus on centering the user/client experience while streamlining productivity and efficiency.

Design in Future Technologies
The user-centric aspect of emerging technologies has shifted the traditional model of creating technology for experts to creating technology for the everyday user. This shift needs the incorporation of design into future technologies as the usage of any given technology is contingent on the ease and utility of its design. Most new technologies that are being adopted into daily usage are easier to use than their predecessors. As robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) become more and more ubiquitous, their designs will need to be that much more widely accessible.

Designing technology for a wider audience has challenges of its own. The User Experience (UX) continues to be of paramount concern, driving the growth of technologies people can use easily, without a second thought. Where the last decade witnessed the global takeover of the smartphone with various user-friendly, visually appealing applications, this decade is sure to see designers of UX turn their focus to more voice-controlled applications, as users flock to hands-free technology and tech that requires minimal effort. Consider the Apple watch, a device that provides fewer features than the phone it connects to, but provides a hands-free accessibility that users crave. The popularity of the watch shows designers and marketers that this type of user-centric design will power the next technological evolution.

Design in Healthcare
Clear, thoughtful design plays a significant role in the healthcare industry, which is growing by the day. Design is used to educate patients, providers, and healthcare insurers about products, services, new technologies and processes. Most people have a story about a painstaking interaction with their healthcare provider or insurer. However, thoughtfully designed intake processes can minimize patient stress while maximizing healthcare workers’ productivity. Design can smooth the patient journey and ease the healthcare industry’s challenges.

Our team recently worked with a nation-wide healthcare technology company to create educational ebooks and brochures. Within the provided copy were phrases that contained outdated and possibly offensive language, such as “flying blind” or “tone-deaf”. Though seemingly innocuous, these phrases can be offensive, and they have no place in 21st century healthcare. This attention to detail made all the difference in creating a product the company could use. As our world becomes more diverse, a good design model will incorporate voices from all backgrounds and ideologies.

Design in Finance
The world of 21st century finance revolves around strong design methods. Traders, bankers, financial advisors, CFOs, and other positions rely heavily on technology and processes that are easy to understand and use. The proliferation of mobile devices and the inevitable need for access that goes with them merits continually evolving designs that keep pace with the expansion of finance technology, also known as ‘fintech.’ As the world of fintech grows, so does the need for design that seamlessly builds on the connection between finance and technology.

In recent interviews with fintech marketing executives and directors for our quarterly publication, we’ve learned that a key struggle for many communication directors in finance is breaking through the noise and the sheer content inundation people are given every day. The competition for any audience’s attention is ferocious. It’s one of the reasons we create resources like our customer journey creative cheat sheet. Design has the power to provide clarity of thinking. There’s a reason teachers taught us in primary school to brainstorm our thoughts. Professionals in complex, evolving industries like finance and fintech can develop marketing strategies much faster when they start with more than a blank sheet of paper. Our design team has made and continues to draft blueprints and tools to help clients design marketing strategies and collateral that incorporate their customer’s journey while supporting corporate objectives.

Design in Government
Many can recall the disastrous rollout of the website healthcare.gov. The Obama administration was haunted for years following this PR nightmare of sharing a website with the public that not only crashed, but was notoriously difficult to navigate when it went live. This example underscores the need for good design in government as well as in healthcare. Governments have the unique burden of essentially trying to ‘sell a product’ to people who have already paid the bill, in this case the taxpayers. Governmental programs that fail risk wasting hours of effort and countless taxpayer dollars, in addition to squandering the public trust, their most invaluable resource. Good design provides the clarity and transparency that governments thrive on to successfully support the populations they serve.

Ethics in Design
The role ethics plays within design is critical. Ethical transparency in the use of source material ensures creative work and labor of others is always properly accredited, while an ethical and transparent process strives to equitably produce and pay all creative work involved. There’s also the ethical duty to create and maintain clarity between client and designer. At Gallery Design Studio, we have refined and honed our onboarding procedure to ensure we take the time needed to be open with our clients about our creative process. Our onboarding is informed by our successes but also by our missteps, where either our team or a client were unclear on deliverables. To avoid such issues, we’ve established multiple early check-ins and implemented follow-up practices to maintain direct and consistent communication with all clients.

There is an undeniable parallel between the clarity at the center of design and the transparency at the core of an ethical business. Design flourishes when it can serve as a creative interpretation of a clear approach to a problem, whereas ethics expands in transparent systems designed to reflect standardized principles.

The rise and expansion of clear, design-centric thinking is the driving force behind how design is and will continue to be incorporated into technologies as well as the driving force behind how ethics is incorporated into design. The role of clarity in design for future technologies and industries like healthcare, finance and government, reflects the role that transparency must play in ethics; design brings clear, creative structure to these industries in a similar way to how ethics brings transparent structure to design.

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