Now when I design a digital product, I follow the same process. I have realized that adding layers to an information block motivates the user to drill down. It enables users to understand the information and make better-informed decisions. For example, a user might click a card to reveal more details or open panels that layer on top of the main screen in which they can perform various actions. As Figure 2 shows, layers do make things more interesting and intriguing. However, in a digital product, it is important to avoid adding too many layers—especially layers that might send users down a rabbit hole.
3. Looking at Designs from Different Perspectives
I would not be doing justice to my days in those architecture classes if I did not discuss how those lessons helped me to learn about perspective. These courses did not just teach me about creating sections and orthographic views but made me aware of both one-point and two-point perspective. Learning how to draw using perspective is crucial for people who want to visualize the user experience and identify design opportunities within a structure that would not obvious from floor plans or elevations.
When I design digital products, I return to these lessons on perspective to discover different user perspectives and glean insights from them. I question whether the information these perspectives have provided makes complete sense. Does this interaction work, or is it too complex? Could I remove some things, or should I add more? Or is there a completely different way in which I could design the product experience that might better meet users’ needs?
Looking at something from different perspectives gives a deeper understanding of a structure, similar to the ways in which it gives deeper meaning to the information spaces we are designing for users, which they will eventually consume on flat digital screens, as Figure 3 depicts.
Some Final Thoughts
Over time, I have realized that there are many similarities between architecture and UX design. In this article, I’ve discussed just a few of the architecture-based approaches, methods, and concepts on which I draw when creating digital software products. During my years in architecture school, I learned to do a lot of sketching, drawing design details with pen and paper. Today, I often start with sketching long before I jump into using software tools to design products. These sketches help me to understand more clearly how to proceed. It is fascinating to see how the techniques I learned years ago have become invaluable in my work today when I’m crafting digital product experiences that users will love to use.