Understanding Design > What Is Design?

The Design Skillset

Design applies different skills to specific challenges, across different project stages. Individual designers typically possess a depth of knowledge in one or more design areas. In this respect, design is not too different from health and its many specializations. Like all health professionals, who have a basic understanding of clinical practice, designers possess common skills in creative problem solving, visual thinking, and the craft of making things. Depending on your health program, you will need to collaborate with a designer who can both help your team navigate the entire design process or help you address specific project needs (e.g. designing a new medical product, health record, or media campaign). Below are a few specialized design skills that can be useful in global health projects:

Skillset Process Mindset as stepping stones
Service Design Icon: Interconnected lines and dots

Service Design

Is the activity of planning and organizing people, infrastructure, communications, and material components of a service in order to improve the value, convenience, and interaction between service providers and customers.

Interaction Design Icon: Screen with hand cursor

Interaction Design

Refers to the design of the interaction between users and products, often digital. The aim is to make digital products or interfaces as easy and pleasant to use as possible. This is often referred to as user experience design.

Product Design Icon: Pencil drawing isometric box

Product Design

Is the discipline of researching, ideating, conceptualizing and building products that better fit within the lives of consumers. Effective product design addresses both the functional and emotional benefits of products.

Interaction Design Icon: Screen with hand cursor

Communication Design

Is about strategic engagement with an audience. It involves designing how a message is delivered through a variety of channels in a consistent and engaging way.

Visual Design Icon: Screen with image and eye overlay

Visual Design

Focuses on communicating information effectively through the skillful use of graphic hierarchy and visual storytelling elements. Visual design can play a critical role in global health by making technical information clear and  compelling to a broad range of audience. Visual design is critical in the effective display of dense health information, such as reports and data.

Interaction Design Icon: Screen with hand cursor

Experience Design

Is the practice of designing products, processes, services, events, and environments with a focus on the quality of the user's experience. It has to do with the level of satisfaction that the user derives from a product or service.