A photograph of user interface wireframes.
What design is and how to do it.

Design Methods

by Amy J. Ko

2nd edition

After teaching design for many years, I longed for a simple, concise, and practical introduction to design for technically-minded people. In response, I’ve distilled my lectures from the past decade into these brief chapters. They don’t represent  everything  we know about design, and they certainly only represent my own  stance on design, but my students have found them be accessible introduction to big ideas in design. I hope you enjoy! If you see something missing or wrong,  submit an issue .

A photograph of a design studio Chapter 1

What designers do

~10 min read
A squiggle line converting toward a straight line Chapter 2

How to design

~10 min read
A complex tangled rope with people trying to disentangle it. Chapter 3

How to understand problems

~10 min read
A screen capture of a pronunciation of the the word ‘problem’, from the Oxford English Dictionary Chapter 4

How to define problems

~10 min read
A vector graphic of a lightbulb Chapter 5

How to be creative

~5 min read
A photograph of a sketch of a mobile application. Chapter 6

How to prototype

~10 min read
A screenshot of the iOS and Android home screens. Chapter 7

How to design interfaces

~15 min read
A photograph of a design critique, with designs on a wall and two peopel looking at them. Chapter 8

How to be critical

~10 min read
A photograph of one person observing another person use a software application Chapter 9

How to evaluate empirically

~10 min read
Clip art of a clipboard with a check list. Chapter 10

How to evaluate analytically

~15 min read


Everything cited


Common words and where they are


Find where words occur


Images and video in the book

Thank you to many students and faculty who’ve read the book and offerered constructive critique! The book is always improving thanks to your wonderful feedback.

Creative Commons Attribution-NoDeriviatives 4.0

Want to print this book or generate a PDF? See all chapters on a single page and then print or export. Long books can take some time to render.

Amy J. Ko (2024). Design Methods. …, retrieved 5/27/2024.