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Paul LabergeWeb Platform AdvisorMicrosoft Canada
Lately I ran into different blogs and articles that talk about inspiration. So, where do you get your inspiration? Here are some tools and resource for inspiration.
Inspired by Mood
Moodstream: Getty’s Streaming Inspiration
“The site cycles through photos, videos and music using their huge cache of media as source material. Getty has created a tool for creative professionals (or everyone else) to find fresh inspiration. The control panel has sliders to adjust the mood and tone of the media; happy to sad, warm to cool. You’re also able to save favorites, and (of course) purchase the media.”
Listen to Experts
"I’ve often believed that the best designers don’t get their ideas and inspiration from the place they work. As a designer that works in the social web space, I do look at a large number of new sites that come through the pipeline for inspiration. However, I also am a big advocate of experimenting with things that are seemingly unrelated and trying to connect those experiences to my work on the web." - Kev/null
A Twitter account called Inspiring, where Stephen, Coley, Patrick Haney (who runs a web inspiration Flickr set) and kev/null post inspiring, innovative or beautiful artifacts.
Kev/null's review of Stephen's presentation on inspiration.
I consider myself in Software User Experience Design, but I often find myself inspired by other design disciplines such as Industrial Design and Fashion Design. I read the Modern and Contemporary Design Blog and love to flip through Vogue magazine.
Other good inspiration sources:
Finally, be inspired by nature. Go to your favourite outdoor places that give you a peaceful mind and great inspiration.
I'd love to hear how you get your inspiration, so drop me a line!
When it comes to software people follow the same old pattern, Group a comes out with a great application design, group b copy it, and group c are tasked with finding something better. Eventually group c run out of (bad) ideas and just slap some gradients and reflections on their existing design.
The focus shouldn't really be on designing a single interface, but instead on designing a consistent usable interface that can be used system-wide. While often played down as a boring corporate interface for boring corporate clients, Microsoft had (until Windows Vista) stuck to one (almost) consistent interface. With Vista different applications from the same vendor (MSFT) share only inconsistencies, with many related applications with a whole smorgasbord of different gradients and layouts to boot.
It seems every new application has it's own way of doing the same tasks, often requiring hefty components or libraries to be bundled alongside just to provide an interface many users with instantly try and turn off.
Websites also fall under the (bad) influence of designers that make loads of money redesigning a site, adding gradients, pointless Silverlight/Flash based navigation tools, and reflections everywhere.
A "new" design does not make up for a poorly created product, Airline websites look the same because that is what works for their users, it makes it easy for customers from competing airlines to book a flight easily.
A new interface for people to master serves as a huge hurdle for a large percentage of users that just want to get the job done, instead of waiting for page animations to send them through a process that took 1/5th the time on a simple plain text page.
So inspiration for design? Ignoring what all of the "high-end" designers are doing, and as a result making something usable, scalable, and with more staying power than the current Web 2.0 feature du jour.
I agree with you that usability of interface design is very important and designers should be careful at not to design for the sake of showing off technology features but really bring value to users.
However, I don't agree we should ignore innovation in design or what the "high-end" designers are doing. Just because we are used to a way of doing things, it doesn't mean it's the best way of doing.There's also the emotional connection to users. Making an airline site more enjoyable to use (also usable) so that it seems less like a chore and people want to come back. I think it's worth while to be creative. I also believe design disciplines should inspire each other. For example, software UX design is a much younger field than Industrial Design. There are great insights and design thinking we can learn from.