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Co-creation: Reengineering Web Design

Website design is one of the most sought-after web services and one of the fastest growing fields in information technology. The emergence of many web designers has gone viral throughout the years resulting to strict competition in the web design arena. With this current situation given, how a web designer can take a competitive advantage over his/her competitors?

Today, co-creation is doing an impressive buzz in the commercial world because it has endless possibilities of tapping the creative prospective of the end-users in various industries including the design field.

Whether you are a web designer, a graphic designer, an interior designer or a fashion designer- you are called a ‘designer’ because of your ability to conceptualize a plan, artistically execute this idea through sketches and eventually turn the drawings into visual presentations. You are the man behind the out of this world and futuristic perspectives of websites, clothes, shoes, cars, logos, etc. But just like the passive-turned-active-consumers, designers are also evolving. Elizabeth Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers have pointed out in their article ‘Co-creation and the New Landscapes of Design’ that “the design practice has progressed from a user-centered approach to co-designing.”

In a nutshell, the design conceptualization and formation are no longer limited to professional designers as they have started to “co-create” with the users.  Then the passive end-users become co-designers. Take a look at the image below:

In the traditional user-centered design process, the passive user is being studied by the researcher and the designer inertly accepts the report to create a new concept. But in co-creation, the user takes part in the whole period of the design process by actively participating in the idea formation. Co-creation helps the designers to generate unique concepts that are inclined by their users. However, this principle can be also applied by web designers to reengineer the ‘usual’ web design process and create a design solution that is intended for the users.

Co-creation in Web Design

In the usual web design process, the client contacts a web designer, gives all the requirements and let the designer do his/her job, which is to think of an effective design solution that is applicable for the client’s website. However, in co-creation, the process is different. The client and their consumers are also involved during the conceptualization phase. Since customers are experts of his/her own experience, they are given a role in the idea generation.

And as ‘specialist’ users in their own right, the opinions of these users are essential in improving the website’s form and functionality. The consumers give their views through online platforms or open dialogues in the first part of the idea generation. On the other hand, the client’s share in the process is by giving his/her requirements as well as his/ her thoughts for the project, while the web designer will be the facilitator.

As a facilitator, the web designer provides tools for brainstorming and creativity expression. Once the idea generation is completed, the web designer and the client collaborate to select all the good ideas to form a solid design solution. And as a ‘co-designer,’ the client is involved in the whole span of the design development. From choosing the website layout to the choice of color, the client actively participates in the process. However, as a connoisseur in the design field, it is the  web designer’s duty to advice what idea is good and applicable for the website, find the missing information, research and explore new technologies and do the visual thinking to address future changes.

With this thought, a web designer can surely take a cutthroat advantage over his/ her competitors by applying the co-creation theory in web design field.

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