Market Research + Legal, Ethical and Moral Considerations Regarding Application Design

Regarding the target audience, my application is designed for and aimed at young adults, especially university and college students, who need to track their tasks and deadlines in an efficient manner.

This presents a set of challenges, with this age group being in a transitionary stage between their teenage lives and that of adulthood. This modern era, in the context of both application design and design in general, simplicity and minimalism has been a key factor and common thread between many design solutions. Keeping in this vein, my application will aim to maintain a minimalist visual layout, as to not distract the user from their task; managing their workload, and completing said tasks.

In order to do this, I must find solve a variety of problems, with the solutions deriving from both abstract, psychological, association and design backgrounds. Providing a visual and feedback orientated link between related areas of the application will reinforce where the user is navigating to and from, also helping to divide the different menus and screens into manageable chunks that follow a clear visual and functional hierarchy.

Content-wise, students would require the functionality of both a calendar, To-Dos, and Reminders, allowing them to schedule in tasks for the day, as well as over-arching reminders for due-dates, deadlines and meetings. This would allow a student to keep track of all upcoming tasks, as well as completing incremental chunks of work as the days, weeks and months go by.

 

Important Elements to Include:

-Login Screen (Possibly, depending on whether the application is cross-platform or not etc.)

-Home Screen

-Calendar Screen

-To-Dos Screen

-Reminders Screen

-Logo and Name of Application

-Various Icons and Symbols (Calendar Icon/s, To-Dos Icon/s, Reminders Icon/s, Buttons etc.)

 

When it comes to the legal and ethical aspects of designing an application, one must always be aware of copyright and IP laws. Intellectual Property (IP) is a blankety term that refers to anything that is a tangible result of creativity, such as a videogame, movie or application design. Copyright, on the other hand, refers to the legal right that a person, company or organisation possesses regarding their Intellectual Property.

Intertwined with IP and Copyright would be trademarks, of which allow you to protect the logo and name of your company or design from those who might wish to replicate it. Not only does this protect others from stealing your company’s logo or name, but it helps reinforce and create a more trustworthy brand identity, solidifying your position in the industry and market as a more reputable competitor. Registering through the government is the only avenue of obtaining a trademark, however, the process of securing copyright is more open-ended. Where a trademark is more concrete, relating to a specific name or logo design, copyright refers to a broader collection of artistic, auditory, literary and code-related elements that have been created by a person. These creations and efforts are ‘copyrighted’ once they have been expressed, tangibly, in a medium. One may pursue specifically registering a copyright, for the added legal rights and protection, however this is not essential.

Related to copyright, but not exactly the same, would the Scène à faire. This concept references artwork and design elements that are required for something to work and are not able to be copyrighted, such as a log in button or search tool icon.

Morals and ethics are linked and attached to these concepts, with ethics relating to the widespread code of morality that influences people’s behaviour and perception of the actions committed by others. Applying these terms to IP and legality, morality influences people’s perceptions of business practices and design decisions, especially when relating to copyright and unjust monetary expectations on customers.

The symbols, icons and other design elements of the application must be readable and responsive, especially if the application has consequences that may reflect in your life, such as a banking app. Not only that, but these elements shouldn’t be directly stolen from other applications and designers, while not only being illegal, this practice is frowned upon and condemned by many consumers.

This relates to the readability of the layout, the user experience, as well as the efficiency of the application. Users want an efficient and enjoyable experience when using an application, especially one that they are paying for. Therefore, if an application demands a monetary value in exchange for its operation, and does not deliver upon its promises, customers may feel scorned regarding such business practices, possibly pursuing legal action if the consequences were dire enough.

 

Several IP, Law, Copyright and Trademark acts and laws:

 

-Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA)

-Copyright Directive

-ACTA trade agreement

-Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations 1992

-The Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003

 

References

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