Design Is About Input

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Between the law firm, other startups I’ve started, and advising clients, I’ve interacted with hundreds of designers and developers through the years.

The most critical thing that I’ve learned is that design is about input, not output.

Let me give you an example – let’s say you have an idea to start a mobile convenience store truck that shows up to office buildings during the week and sells convenience store items (I think I may actually do this). You’ll need a website and perhaps a mobile application that 1) tells people where the truck is, 2) sends notifications, 3) allows for mobile purchasing, and 4) has a loyalty program built into it.

Seems pretty straightforward (and this can be done pretty inexpensively these days – more on that soon). But you cannot count on designers or developers to see the full vision you have in your head. It is critical that you provide as much input as possible and clearly communicate your goals both visually and textually.

For example, let’s drill in on #1 above: tells people where the truck is. That leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Is the information textual or graphical, or both? Does there need to be a mapping feature? Do we want to tell customers where the truck is, or how far away it is, or both? What about where it has been? Or where it is going?

As you can see, what seems like a simple directive can have multiple interpretations and a number of product paths. This is why it is imperative that you have clear and thorough deliverables in a written agreement prior to beginning any development or design work. And the way to get those clear and thorough deliverables is through input.

About the Author
Kevin Vela

Kevin is the managing partner at Vela Wood. He focuses his practice in the areas of venture financing, M&A, fund representation, and gaming law.

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