“It’s not very hard to be clever.”

two people climbing up a path at Sleeping Bear Dunes

“It’s far harder to be simple, obvious, and meaningful. It’s hard to make something feel like it needs to exist.” I recently came across this quote about design by Jake Barton, founder of LocalProjects, and I thought it captured nicely the goal of design activities at Red Cedar. During the discovering phase of working on new projects, clients and the design team are very excited about the wealth of data, ideas and features that we have uncovered. At this point, there is usually a strong desire to include all the clever ideas that captured our imaginations in the final product that we develop together. The more difficult challenge is to design a final product that is simple, elegant and a pleasure to use.

The process of moving from Discovering all the possibilities to Designing the best, most elegant solution involves identifying the primary target audience of end users of the solution and then conducting field observations, interviews and several rounds of prototype development and testing with those users. When end users interact with wireframes and prototypes, Red Cedar’s Design and Development teams continue the challenging work of simplifying and perfecting the design so that the final experience for the end user is simple, obvious and meaningful. All of us have been frustrated by software and apps that have lost their focus amidst feature creep, but we remember those apps that allow us to do what we want quickly and elegantly. It’s not very hard to be clever, but the disciplined work of the Red Cedar design experience helps your product feel like it needs to exist for your end users.