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5 Types of Design Objectives

Design objectives are the functional and non-functional qualities of a design. These are often stated as goals for what a design is meant to achieve. Objectives serve to guide the design process and measure your results. The following are the basic types of design objectives.

Products & Services

Products and services are typically designed to achieve a particular unit cost, product positioning, customer experience and brand image. Objectives are often tied to customer needs, preferences and perceptions. For example, a toaster design might have the objective of being the "fastest toaster on the market", "the toaster that refuses to burn toast" and "toaster perceived as the most luxurious in its price range."

User Interfaces

Objectives for usability in areas such as the productivity of tools, user experience and accessibility. For example, an app that allows sales people to enter contacts may have the learnability objective that "99.9% of users find the app intuitive such that they need no help to add a new contact on their first try."

Visual & Sensory

Objectives related to visual appeal and sensory design such as the taste of food. For example, a bicycle helmet design with the objective of appearing "solid, safe and durable."


Beyond marketing, usability and visual objectives, technology designs may have objectives in areas such as reliability, performance, cost, risk, integration and compatibility. For example, the design of an aircraft engine may have the objective of being fault-tolerant such that "there is no probability that a bird strike will cause the engine to break apart."


Objectives for the design of physical environments such as urban design, architecture, interior design and landscaping. For example, the urban design objective that a play street be "useful for a wide variety of activities including sports, exercise and bicycling."
Overview: Design Objectives
Definition (1)
The goals of a design.
Definition (2)
The functional and non-functional quality targets of a design.
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