Bookmark: "What is Design? Note on Bill Buxton"

Sebastian Greger


John Maeda's commentary on an essay by Bill Buxton writes out something that is tacit knowledge to many designers, but that deserves attention from a strategic perspective:

The difference between a sketch and prototype is a matter of where you want to put risk. To make a sketch presents a lower risk, but embodies higher risks because the sketched idea may be untested and unviable. To make a prototype presents a higher risk (due to production costs), but embodies loser risks because the prototyped idea can be tested for viability.

Design work is a process of (insightful) failing. I’ve always enjoyed that. But with tools ever lowering the risk of creating even advanced prototypes (cue: Figma and other tools allowing to turn sketches into prototypes), the price of these failures is coming down …maybe also increasing the quality of the final product?

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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