But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name
Colors of the Wind
The Name—Description—Purpose Information Structure or NDP becomes a tool in identifying any UI element within a system. The Designer would have a glimpse of what it is called (Name), what it does (Description), and why it exists (Purpose).
A Popular Example: I’m Feeling Lucky Component
- Name: I’m Feeling Lucky Component
- Description: A button that takes the user in a non-traditional search path
- Purpose: To delight the users by letting them explore Doodles or by taking them directly to the website of the topmost search result
The power of Name is in its naming consistency. Always call it “I’m Feeling Lucky Component”.
The Description gives the Designer an overview of what the component does.
Now, here’s the tricky part—Purpose. As persons, we begin our living journey by having a name. Soon enough, we define how we live our lives. And as we go deeper into our journey, we look (and find) more and deeper meaning. This is the feeling of purpose why we exist. We define this for ourselves. Its criteria is measured by us alone.
In User Interface Design, the Purpose is based on the Business and Users Objectives. To aid in developing a Purpose for a UI element, a Designer may begin by asking 5 Whys on the Description.
“Why do we have to take the user in a non-traditional search path?”
At some point you will arrive in an answer that contains fundamental elements such as enablement, empowerment, delight, reward—feelings that we want our users to have regardless of the Objectives specifics. And that is a strong embodiment of the Purpose.
Try Reverse Engineering a User Interface and practice establishing each Component’s NDP.