Seek Out and Learn from Great Examples

Throughout this book, we've looked at applications like DropSend, Squidoo, and Google Page Creator, among others. These are all great applications, but this is not an exhaustive list, by any means. There are many other great applications out there, and while finding them isn't always easy, studying them is an effective way to gain more insight into how to design the obvious.


Studying great Web applications is also an effective way to get some inspiration.

Backpack offers us a new approach to organization for small projects. Page Creator offers us a quick way to create basic Web pages. Blinksale offers us a graceful solution to the difficult task of managing invoices to multiple clients. And Meebo offers us a way to send instant messages in a Web page.

All of the design problems these applications solve have been solved in a myriad of other ways over the years, but these simple Web applications have taken a new look at the problems and presented interesting and engaging new solutions.

We can find inspiration in existing applications, common problems (like keeping track of bookmarks on multiple computers), and even installed solutions like word processors and spreadsheet applications. These are all things that can be looked at from a new perspective and redesigned for use on the Web.

When asked how 37signals comes up with new application ideas, Jason Fried even suggests the outside world can be a good place for inspiration:

We're inspired by everyday simple problems. We're not interested in solving the huge problems. We're interested in solving the simple ones. Those are the ones people have to deal with every day. So it's those simple problems that inspire us to build simple tools to help people solve them. Nature is always a good place to look for really refi ned solutions too. There's lots of inspiration in nature. There's very little in nature that doesn't work. If it doesn't work it's been phased out a long time ago. So looking closely at the natural world really opens your eyes to wonderful and creative solutions.

Designing the Obvious. A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design
Designing the Obvious: A Common Sense Approach to Web Application Design
ISBN: 032145345X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 81

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