�Design Languages� by John Rheinfrank and Shelley Evenson from

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					      “Design Languages”
by John Rheinfrank and Shelley Evenson
     from Bringing Design to Software
             by Terry Winograd

           Catherine Schell
                 CSC 509
             January 11, 2005
About the Authors
   John Rheinfrank
       Senior strategist at Doblin Group
       Previously was Senior Vice-President at Fitch
            Cofounder of the Exploratory Design Laboratory
   Shelley Evenson
       Design strategist at Doblin Group
       Originally trained as a graphic designer, now
        works in interaction design
       Previously Vice-President at Fitch
            Cofounder of the Exploratory Design Laboratory
Definition of Design Language
   Natural languages “are the basis for
    how we generate and interpret phrases
    and sentences”
   Similarly, design languages “are the
    basis for how we create and interact
    with things in the world”
Design Languages in Use
   Xerox photocopiers use a design language:
       Doors have obvious handles
       Color coding distinguishes different areas of the
            Areas for original documents are green
            Areas where paper is loaded are blue
            Areas for the copy output are red
   All products in the Xerox photocopier family
    use this design language
Design Languages and
   Design languages enable…
       … designers to build meaning into objects,
        so that the objects have meaning to
       … people to understand and use the
       … objects to become part of people’s
        experiences and activities.
Design Languages and
Meaning cont’d
   Design languages consist of the
       Collections of elements
       Sets of organizing principles
       Collections of qualifying situations
   Other properties of design languages:
       They are not fixed, formal languages.
       They usually evolve gradually.
Benefits of Design Languages
   Interpretation
       Designers can use a design language to give
        users cues and resources for learning
       “Transparent-box design” vs. “black-box
            In a black box, all functionality is hidden from view
            In a transparent box, functionality is exposed so
             users can learn how the artifact they are using
       Patterns of use can be transferred from one
        artifact to another
Benefits of Design Languages
   Generation
       Coherence: Businesses create coherent
        ways to give customers a favorable
        impression of the corporation
       Relevance: Businesses ensure their product
        line plays a crucial role in customers’
        regular activities
       Quality: Businesses ensure their products
        meets customers’ needs
Benefits of Design Languages
   Assimilation
       Design languages are usually most
        influential when they are assimilated into
        people’s lives
            People unconsciously assume they are valid
            People stop considering whether they are
             appropriate for a particular situation
The Design-Language
    There are five steps in the
     development of a design language:
    1.   Characterization
    2.   Reregistration
    3.   Development and demonstration
    4.   Evaluation
    5.   Evolution
The Design-Language
Approach: Characterization
   Characterization is the “process of describing
    the existing underlying assumptions and
    precedent-setting design languages.”
   Example:
       The interface to digital control systems for
        manufacturing facilities mimics the readouts from
        the dials and faceplates of the individual machines
        that are used on the production line.
The Design-Language
Approach: Reregistration
   Reregistration is “the creation of a new
    assumption set and design framework.”
   Example:
       After some research, the designers realized
        that the control room in the manufacturing
        plant was a “primary center of business,”
        rather than a “place to keep a big control
The Design-Language Approach:
Development and Demonstration
   Development occurs when the design
    team gives “concrete visible form to the
    assumptions and to the design
   Demonstration occurs at the same time
    as development, using scenarios,
    sketches, or prototypes.
The Design-Language
Approach: Evaluation
   Demonstrations are “placed within real
    or hypothetical situations of use.”
   Example:
       In the process-control interface, “people
        buttons” for direct-dialing a worker made
        sense to the design team but not to the
        actual users.
The Design-Language
Approach: Evolution
   A design language needs to be
    extended or changed as necessary once
    it is in use.
       “Needs and practices change constantly.”
   The authors believe that creating
    software design languages according to
    the steps they’ve outlined will result in
    an evolution or revolution of the WIMP
    language to “an era of more meaning-
    full interaction with computers.”

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