Madison+UX 2015

The digital design field is rapidly evolving. Everywhere you look there is another blogger outlining a new technique, a company launching a new device, and an eager designer looking to make their mark. The culmination of this rapid development is websites and apps that are a slew of acronyms, and design complexities. Harmony of form, function and environment are lost in a landscape of bloated technology, rapid innovation, business needs and fashionable trends. The increasing complexity through innovation in the field and rapid change is not unique to digital design. At the turn of the century architects were building larger houses that were increasingly decorative, widely known as the Victorian style. This was fueled by new materials emerging in the market such as plywood and concrete, allowing for once expensive ornamentation to become attainable by the masses. This shift in the marketplace created an architectural period of overt, often flamboyant, status symbols in the community where they did not belong. One example: Roman pillars, once reserved for places of law, were now common on houses. With all of this overused decorative design, many once symbolic design language elements became meaningless. In the midst of this extravagance, a rebel emerged. Frank Lloyd Wright was disgusted by what he saw; he sought a stark contrast in his work by emphasizing simplicity, unity of form and function, while emphasizing harmony of design and environment. This fresh perspective, made possible by new technologies, allowed him to escape the gaudy Victorian style. In doing so he sparked an architectural movement, organic architecture, that remains relevant today. We can learn many lessons about design and UX by exploring Frank Lloyd Wright’s work and the architectural environment. This presentation aims to explain many of the core tenets and practices that Wright. used in his homes and taught in his architecture school (Taliesin, in Spring Green, Wisconsin), and explore ways that they can be applied to digital UX. By learning from Wright’s architectural patterns, his use of natural environment, and his understanding of human behavior, designers can gain new perspective into how to design problems.

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