Smashing Magazine, recently posted an article '7 Essential Guidelines for Functional Design', this is a great article, but more interesting to me is how easy it is to adopt these functional design guidelines to most aspects of life.
At the heart of every piece of practical design, whether it be a website, product package, office building, manufacturing system, piece of furniture, software interface, book cover, tool, or anything else, there is a function, a task the item is expected to perform. Most functions can be achieved in a variety of ways, but there are some basic elements a designer needs to take into account to create a product that best fulfills its intended function.
1. Consider the product’s goal. 2. Consider who will be using it. 3. Consider what your audience intends to do with it. 4. Is it clear how to use it? 5. How does your user know it’s working? 6. Is it engaging to your users? 7. How does it handle mistakes?