Design of art or art to design?
Lately, in the world of web design, I have repeatedly heard an interesting statement that concerns the connection of this IT sphere with art. Some of web designers complain about a constant demand for usability which is gradually killing the opportunity to express themselves, bring to life creative ideas and produce something beautiful, in other words to craft art.
Dispute About Art
But is it really so? Does User Experience aim at being considered as a piece of art or just make a user delighted with the website? In my post “Design as it is” I had mentioned that design is “an organization or structure of formal elements in a work of art; composition”. But, in fact, can we regard web design and art within the same category? Referring to the professional opinion I’ll try to figure out how to associate these two concepts and how they correlate.
Michael Kornblum says that “art and design are two entirely separate disciplines. Art is intended to evoke some form of emotion in its viewer, whereas design is intended to solve a problem or to serve an intended practical purpose. Web design is a balancing act between the needs of your client, the wants of the end user, web standards, accessibility and the designer’s own sense of fulfillment.” A very clear and precise statement making meaning perfectly plain and it would seem like there is already nothing to talk about. But one of the most important elements of User Experience is an emotional factor. I mean that a user must be willing to stay on the website due to the aesthetic side of human perception. However, it doesn’t imply that designers should produce highly artful solutions while usability improvements boost the conversion much more than true art.
Henk C. Meerhof mentions that “we work with aesthetic and artistic tools, together with knowledge of the human psyche and cultural differences”. Web designers create websites that are easy to use and delight the eye – a perfect combination. And to achieve this goal a good professional should have excellent User Interface skills, follow the trends of web design and possess the knack for “buttons” users want to “push”. But they certainly don’t need to have a degree in art.
Art or Design?
So, returning to the initial point, design and art are really different categories and usability doesn’t prevent designers from expressing themselves or finding outside the box solutions. According to Kevin Hassall “It requires designers to think differently” and takes them to another level. Taking into account Michael’s and Henk’s opinion, designers don’t have to craft the art, they should know the art of creating the design that combines all the requirements of the client and high quality technical background as well as meets the aesthetic needs of users. That’s the perfect recipe with main ingredients but you are certainly welcome to change the additives as everyone of you produces something original with its own unique features. Create everything with pleasure and for the pleasure of others.