Design Solves Problems

September 26, 2016 Written by Third Sun

Does anyone else remember growing up thinking that the faraway future meant moving sidewalks and hover cars? That we might be transported from one place to another by some beam of light? "The Jetsons" or "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" may be to blame. And as futuristic as that all seemed, we now live in a world of apps and smart phones and the internet of things that we often take for granted.

These days, we’re only an app away from an Uber ride, or an Airbnb apartment in Italy, or controlling all the music in our house from Sonos speakers.

Ten years ago, none of this existed. The iPhone — which sparked the smart phone revolution and ushered in the era of apps — didn’t enter our world until 2007.

Judging the moment we’re living in is always a tough proposition, but even the Jetsons couldn’t have seen all this coming.

And what makes this all work? Design.

And what is design? Succinctly, a solution to a problem.

Recently, I attended the screening of Design Disruptors, a documentary demonstrating how designers at all levels are creating solutions via new technologies. It focuses on how companies like Facebook, Google, Dropbox, Pinterest, Netflix, and others are designing for their users; how they painstakingly test and test again to make access to complex things easy; how what has been product design and testing is really all about user experience.

Here at Third Sun, we’ve been discussing our role as designers for our clients. While each person on our small team has a different role to play, we see ourselves as helping clients solve problems — and as Julie Zhuo, VP of Product Design for Facebook says, “design is the act of intentionally solving problems."

Our clients come to us with a range of problems they need solved, and I think one of our best Third Sun qualities has been to cut through the clutter and noise and help our clients get organized around their audience’s needs. We help create a pathway for their users to access information, make a donation, or get engaged in some other way. As smart phones have become ever-present over our 11 years in business, making more specific goals for mobile design has become a priority.

In our own small way, we want our design expertise to make things simple and easy for users. Overall, Design Disruptors encourages designers to see the gaps in our world where pain points still exist and to find even better solutions to those problems. It’s exciting to ponder what happens ten years onward as people continue solving problems to impact our world. Perhaps I might get my Star Wars-inspired land speeder after all.