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3 Examples of Design Abstraction

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Design abstraction is the process of designing things that differ from physical realities. The term is used to describe designs that hide the bland realities of implementation behind an intuitive and easy to use interface. The following are illustrative examples.

User Interface

A stock trading app allows users to buy or sell a stock by entering details such as stock ticker and price. The interface presents the user with abstractions such as a "trade" or "market price." These abstractions hide complex realities such as networking, information security, market data, connecting to exchanges, algorithms for filling a trade and settlement processes.

Technical Interface

A technical interface such as an API is typically designed to provide powerful functionality that is completely abstracted from implementation realities. For example, a weather API may accept a geographical location as input and return details of tomorrow's forecast such as temperature ranges and probability of precipitation. This hides complexity such as collecting data from weather satellites and algorithms for forecasting weather.

Data Abstraction

Data is commonly designed as an abstract concept. For example, a concept such as "probability of precipitation" may be calculated from millions of data observations from weather stations and satellites. The abstract data is human readable and useful while the raw data is impossible complex and technical.
Overview: Design Abstraction
Area
Definition
The process of designing interfaces based on concepts that differ from underlying realities.
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