Design Axioms at Harvard Business School

by Jon Follett

Design Axioms
November 7, 2012
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Harvard Business School
Cambridge, MA

Involution Studios is pleased to announce that Creative Director Juhan Sonin will be a featured lecturer at Harvard Business School's Project Management 101 course on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM. In the HBS PM101 class, students learn to specify, build, and launch digital products; As a part of the course, participants are required to build a working application that will be useful for fellow students.

On November 7, Juhan Sonin will be teaching a class on Design Axioms, which describe the minimal rule set for designing interfaces. Design Axioms are foundational concepts — required knowledge for designers, analysts, and engineers to create usable and elegant interfaces.

While there is an impedance mismatch with the design and engineering community — and with company cultures — on the skills and practices required for designing software interfaces, Design Axioms is the bromide for such disorientation. Rather than concentrate on a single discipline, such as interaction or usability, Design Axioms takes a system engineering approach, describing the key concepts of the entire act of creating the interface — from prototyping, to using real data, to visual design and layout, to interaction patterns.

The Design Axioms topics are grouped into four distinct areas: Data, Feedback, Layout, and Interaction.

Data concentrates on presenting and visualizing information, using real data to drive design decisions, and allocating the most screen real estate possible to data (versus interface widgets).

Feedback revolves around prototyping quickly, using your own product or service and feeling how it really works (or doesn't), understanding the users' point of view, and providing straight-forward feedback mechanisms.

Layout is a straightforward tutorial on text as interface and the power of the grid for readability, usability, and orientation.

Interaction covers the conscious and unconscious design patterns we use every day — from the act of making a phone call, to updating patient data in a EHR, to writing a technical review. The design of these interactions — both physical and digital — need to feel familiar from service to service and allow people to make faster and better decisions, by designing applications for the intermediate user and making the user interface invisible.

Learn more about Involution Studios' Design Axioms at

Topics: Design, Events, harvard business school, UX, ui, design axioms