Meta Refresh 2013

The design and engineering of user interface on the web

Next proposal


Design by Philosophy

Submitted by Prateek Rungta (@rungta) on Jan 14, 2013

Section: Process Technical level: Beginner Session type: Lecture Status: Confirmed & Scheduled


To show how designers can evolve by basing their design decisions on the most basic forms of ideas — philosophies. 


Consider this common scenario: You’re designing a product and you need some input from the user. The journey date for a travel booking website, perhaps. You might arrive at a solution by considering: common date entry techniques on the web (HTML date <input>, Javascript date pickers etc.), factors that have a strong correlation with the project’s context (e.g. range of valid dates for bookings) and any constrains imposed by the environment (e.g. device capabilities).

An alternate, bottom-up approach might be to reason out a solution on the basis of beliefs such as: every point of input slows the interface; can we avoid an explicit decision from the user? Be liberal while accepting inputs; are we too strict? Simple trumps complex; can we use a native <select> dropdown instead of a Javascript date picker?

With this talk, I hope to show how we can use such philosophies as a foundation for bottom-up decision making — a foundation that spans across projects and addresses design’s uncertainty head-on. And finally, to show how this foundation can evolve organically and encourage progress.

Speaker bio

I have been building web stuff for the last seven years and like most peers in this field, I am largely self–taught. I spend a lot of time pondering about design and the web, and more recently, about the connections (and peculiarities) between everything around us.

These days I design websites at (and help run) Miranj.



  • Kiran Jonnalagadda (@jace) Crew 7 years ago

    Bravo! It takes courage to write such a proposal when you come from a background that requires obsessing over the mechanics of how to make it work. I sure hope you have enough material to last a 45 minute session.

    • Prateek Rungta (@rungta) Proposer 7 years ago

      Thanks Kiran. I could speak for hours about this, so 45 minutes shouldn’t be an issue. :)

  • Jitendra Vyas (@jitendravyas) 7 years ago

    +1 Would be very interesting for mde

  • Rahul Gonsalves (@rahul) 7 years ago


  • Benjamin Arthur Lupton (@balupton) 7 years ago

    Cool! Is your example scenario say a comparison between the many input fields of versus the single input field of ?

    • Prateek Rungta (@rungta) Proposer 7 years ago

      My example wasn’t based on any particular implementation, but it did draw from a lot of examples like the one you pointed out. As far as accepting input on travel sites goes, Hipmunk seems to be doing a really interesting job.

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