Others’ classifications of software design

I like to know what parts designers believe design is made of. So I collect classifications.

Attempts to classify some or all of software design

Software design activities and criteria can be assigned to three levels: physical, which concerns the choice of colors, type, layout, etc, and is influenced by particular human anatomical and cognitive capabilities; linguistic, which concerns the use of icons and labels, terminology, etc, and is dependent on shared cultural and linguistic assumptions; and conceptual, which concerns the underlying semantics of the application, including the actions that can be performed and the effects they have, and the structure and interpretation of the state as viewed by the user.

User Research, Content Strategy, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Visual Design, Usability Evaluation

Introductory topics, Fundamentals, Color, Typography, User Interface Components, Digital Platforms & Paradigms, Communicating Design

The strategy plane, the scope plane, the structure plane, the skeleton plane, the surface plane

Jesse James Garrett, The Elements of User Experience

When designers work on visual craftsmanship, they use the building blocks of the trade — the visual material. Space, form (shape, image, typography) and colour. These they compose in creative and clever ways using Gestalt principles (similarity, continuation, closure, proximity, figure-ground, and symmetry), hierarchy of information (based on intended purpose of the screen) and visual hygiene (pixel perfect alignment).

Understanding visual hierarchy, color in interaction, typography for legibility, eye movement on a screen.

… the elements of design in graphic art: typography, photography, illustration, logos and colour

Josef Müller-Brockmann, The Graphic Artist and his Design Problems

the graphic artist needs a thorough knowledge of the effect which the graphic elements — lettering, photography, illustration and colour — are capable of achieving.

Josef Müller-Brockmann, The Graphic Artist and his Design Problems

the designer of today must combine a knowledge of photography, industrial design, typography, drawing, spatial representation, reproduction techniques, language, etc.

Armin Hofmann, Graphic Design Manual: Principles and Practice

copy, art, and typography

Paul Rand, Thoughts on Design

The designer is primarily confronted with three classes of material: a) the given material: product, copy, slogan, logotype, format, media, production process; b) the formal material: space, contrast, proportion, harmony, rhythm, repetition, line, mass, shape, color, weight, volume, value, texture; c) the psychological material: visual perception and optical illusion problems, the spectators’ instincts, intuitions, and emotions as well as the designer’s own needs.

Paul Rand, Thoughts on Design

Lettering, typography, drawing (incl. figure, visual communication, perspective), editorial, exhibit, environmental/wayfinding, sequential design (incl. storyboarding), identity design (incl. branding), web/app (incl. UX, UI, landing pages), packaging, 3D visualisation (incl. modelling, rendering), studio projects, design principles (incl. colour theory, grid), design history.

Reality: The real world. Problem space: Observed behaviour, user needs, the domain. Solution space: Product & service strategy, conceptual model, interaction structure and flow, surface.

User-centered problem solving, user interface and experience design, collaboration and communication.

Visual aesthetics have these key elements: Color, Shape, Pattern, Line, Texture, Visual weight, Balance, Scale, Proximity and Movement. Using these element well will help us achieve good visual aesthetics.

These explanations of interface aesthetics are classified into 9 categories: Stimulation of the senses. Ease of perception. Accessibility and ergonomics. Representing the skill of the designer. How systematic the design is. Semantics. How the design relates to its purpose, to itself, and to the user’s expectations. Following or not following an agreed acceptable standard. Prompting emotion or imagination.

When designing a web site, we need to consider three basic factors: presentation, organization, and interaction. Presentation is how your site appears to your audience, organization is the structure of your site, and interaction is how your site behaves in response to user actions.

Luke Wroblewski, Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability

Among other things, an effective web site presentation can help provide situational awareness, provide clarity, provide emotional impact, engage and invite users, explain organization, guide users through content and sequences, maintain consistency, educate users, establish relationships between content, create emphasis and focus within web pages and sites, send the right message to an audience, give sites unique personalities and distinction, establish a sense of place.

Luke Wroblewski, Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability

Some parts of the UX process create more value than others. … The bottom of the pyramid … are the parts that can destroy a product if you ignore them. … [The Pyramid of UX Impact is, in order of importance,] user psychology, information architecture, content, usability, aesthetics, copywriting, delight/surprise/I-got-your-nose etc., link color/icon color/corner radius etc.

Joel Marsh, UX for Beginners: A Crash Course in 100 Short Lessons

This suggests three general reasons why a person will turn to software: To learn. To create. To communicate. I propose that software can be classified according to which of these needs it serves. I will call these categories information software, manipulation software, and communication software.

I suggest three separate layers ultimately compose the entire user experience: The Presentation layer, the Task layer, and the Infrastructure layer. …

The Presentation layer contains the physical, graphic representation of the product, both in hardware and software. The physical case, the push buttons, as well as the onscreen icons and screen layout enable the user to interact with the product. This is what is classically thought of as the user interface. …

The Task layer concerns how the user completes tasks when using the device. What is the precise sequence of steps needed to complete a given goal? …

The Infrastructure layer concerns itself with the underpinnings of the product. What are the enabling factors that allow the product to offer a compelling solution? Just as important are the disabling factors that prevent other solutions from consideration.

Tables of content from software design books and other resources

Introduction, The Fundamentals of Interaction Design, Design Patterns & Best Practices, User Research & Testing, Communicating Design

Introduction to design: Introduction to design; Design principles; Tools, workflow, and collaboration

Graphic design: Graphic design basics, Applied graphic design, Graphic design portfolio briefs

Digital product design: Product design basics, Applied product design, Product design portfolio briefs

Start, Typography, Layout, Color, Style, Imagery, Elements, Tactics

Typography, Gestalt, Interface

Setting the stage, filling spaces, directing the eye, delivering visuals, considering style, entertaining the eye, color awareness, color and conveyance, typography, infusing with intangibles, avoiding unsightliness, practical matters, inspiration and education

Jim Krause, Visual Design: Ninety-five things you need to know

Getting started, Research and ideas, Typography, Colour, Layout

Point, Line, Plane; Rhythm and balance; Scale; Texture; Color; Gestalt principles; Framing; Hierarchy; Layers; Transparency; Modularity; Grid; Pattern; Diagram; Time and motion; Rules and randomness

Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Cole Phillips, Graphic Design: The New Basics

Communication design principles, interaction design, visual design, communicating to people, a communication-driven design process

Everett N. McKay, UI is Communication

Layout and composition, color, texture, typography, imagery

Jason Beaird, The Principles of Beautiful Web Design

Starting from scratch, hierarchy is everything, layout and spacing, designing text, working with color, creating depth, working with images, finishing touches, levelling up

Visual perception, elements, attributes, principles

Elegance and simplicity; scale, contrast, and proportion; organization and visual structure; module and program; image and representation; so what about style?

Kevin Mullet and Darrell Sano, Designing Visual Interfaces: Communication Oriented Techniques

Proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast, using color

The Non-Designer’s Design Book, Robin Williams

Research, design, implementation

Lukas Mathis, Designed for Use

Grid, color, typography, white space, layout and hierarchy, content, user experience, images and imagery, extra tidbits.

Typography, alignment and grids, proximity and space, color, repetition, visual hierarchy, dominance and contrast

User Experience is discovery, vision definition, strategy, planning, execution, measurement, iteration.