Phronesis and website design

This year I am a judge for the international Web Awards  – an  interesting undertaking as things move so quickly in this space.
So I’ve been in a discussion with fellow judges about the aspects of good design.

I’d break good design into three components
1. functional design – here we have useability, accessibility,
navigability, etc – the things that make a web site work in a generic
sense – the engineering of a well designed site
2. aesthetic design – the things that make the site attractive and
pleasing to the eye without necessarily affecting functionality
3. “fitness for purpose” – I said “I’m struggling for a phase to describe
this, but the particular design features that lend themselves to the
specific purpose of the site – here I am thinking of what about this
site makes it particularly good at selling umbrellas, attracting
support for a political candidate, or whatever ”
Thanks to Mario Cavallini for introducing me to phronesis, as follows…
” Regarding a term for “fitness for purpose,” there’s a term from
Aristotle that I’ve recently seen applied to the specific sort of
wisdom exercised by good physicians: “phronesis.”  This is the knack
for taking action that is appropriate to the specific situation.  This
is not following cookbook guidelines and treating each disease the
same way, but coming up with the right intervention for the specific
There is a role for website phronesis — the deployment of appropriate
content, style and functionality to serve the needs of the site
visitor and site publisher.”


Thanks Mario!


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