Before you begin to put pencil to paper for a design, you need to know more than what the client asked you to design. For the design to serve the organizational goals of your client, you need to know about the competition, the end users, real world context of use, and much more. Instead of just jumping into the visual design process, you are going to arm yourself with knowledge by doing Just Enough Research as suggested by Erika Hall.

Part One: Stages of Action

So why are you doing research? Advertisers and designers generally assume that creating some form of design will motivate someone into action. This is the farthest thing from the truth. Medical and Physiological research has shown that there is a lot more involved when it comes to changing a person or group’s behavior (moving someone into action). A single piece of design can not motivate someone from a state of unawareness to action and make that action habitual.

What design can do is motivate someone from one state of awareness into another. By researching your intended audience’s level of understanding of the subject of your design piece, you can determine the best approach to moving them into action.

The following break down of how ready people are to change was researched and written by Carlo C. DiClemente and James Prochaska. There are many other medical studies on changing behavior but most of them are some variation on the Six Stages of Action listed below.

The Six Stages of Action

  1. Precontemplation: the period before you are aware that a change is necessary. Another word for Precontemplation is denial.
  2. Contemplation: once you’ve moved out of Precontemplation, you are willing to understand the truth about the problem behavior or situation and consider the alternatives. Contemplation is the learning stage in which you gather information.
  3. Planning: once you have committed to bringing about a change in your life, the next step is to figure out how to do it. You plan your behavior change.
  4. Action: you implement your plan in the Action phase. This phase can be seen as an experiment in which you learn which parts of your plan work and where the unforeseen obstacles lie.
  5. Maintenance: most people enter the Action stage filled with enthusiasm and excitement. There is a sense of euphoria as they begin to see positive change and experience the benefits that this change brings. It is much more of a challenge to maintain that change.
  6. Termination: once the new habits have replaced the old, maladaptive behaviors you can consider yourself in what Prochaska labels the Termination phase. In Transformation, the desired change has been accomplished.

Grading

This assignment will be worth 12 points. You can email me a link, a document, or hand them in on paper.

Part Two: SWOT Analysis

Before I meet with a client, I personally like to review their current website, use the product or service and conduct a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis to get a wholistic understanding of the organization. This includes their competition.

With the remaining class time you will conduct a SWOT Analysis of your proposed project. On paper, in a spread sheet, etc. answer the following questions. Do your best to answer these questions without thinking about potential visual design solutions. I’ve pulled the following prompts from the Mindtools website and they may not be answerable right now, so just skip those over. These are just prompts to put each category into context, so please add your own questions or answers!

Finally, you truly can not answer these questions until you know who your competition is and what is already out there. So find your competition first, then start the SWOT analysis.

Strengths

Weaknesses

Opportunities

Threats

Grading

This assignment will be worth 12 points. You can email me a link, a document, or hand them in on paper.

Resources