Parti and the Design Sandwich (summary) – Luke Wroblewski

I recently watched the talk ‘Parti and the Design sandwich by Luke Wroblewski.

It was fantastic talk looking at a ‘structure for better design decision making’.

So what is a parti and a design sandwich?

A parti is the central idea or concept of a building, like a mission statement but more articulate.
In design, this plays the role of a guidepost for the design sandwich.

Design sandwich
A design sandwich is the structure of a project which is contained by design principles and design considerations.

Parti and design sandwich diagram

How is this useful?

  • Helps pull all data and information together
  • Great tool for getting buy in – at the right level
  • Guides a project to keep the ‘vision’
  • Vets out subjective ideas
  • Rational decision making
  • Helping people to let go and move on from design that doesn’t align with the vision

Informed decision making

In all situations where bad design decisions were made, people lacked some information that would have helped them make the right decision. – Jared Spool

Decisions can only really be made when we have all the information. If we go about making decisions without all the information then our solution won’t work too well.

As you can see from the design sandwich diagram the real meat is the design decisions that are characteristics of use and evaluate the design decisions.

Patterns and best practices take up a big chunk of the sandwich filling. These are the pieces that will make up our interface. Testing is also just as important, but has a smaller focus due to the reality that we can’t test everything.

Change is ok but don’t give up on having a parti

Screen Shot 2017-04-04 at 11.42.57

Mathew Frederick (screenshot from Luke Wroblewski original talk)

Rather than patching local fixes or loosing the integrity of the project over continuing with the current design, we as designs need to change if we aren’t going towards the common goal. The parti can be adapted if impacting the design process. Either way, don’t keep doing something if you clearly see it isn’t going to work in the long term.



Original talk:

101 things I learned in Architecture school – Mathew Frederick


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