October 3rd, 2011
In the 30+ years I’ve been working in designing online experiences, I’ve met a lot of folks. Good folks, interested in creating really great products, services, and designs.
I’ve seen my share of really great designs. However, I’ve also seen many bad designs.
Yet, interestingly enough, I’ve never met anyone who wanted to make a bad design. Nobody said to me, “I’m trying to build the suckiest design out there. Something people will really hate.”
Behind every bad design was a team that wanted to do the right thing. They wanted to make their designs a success. It just didn’t work out that way.
Almost always, it was because something was missing. The designers didn’t know what it would take to get a great design.
Often, they thought they knew. They thought they had the right mix of savvy and intuition to make it work.
Good design, it turns out, is harder than just being a smart guy. You have to know who your users are. You have to know what your users need. You have to know what your technology can and can’t do. You have to know what will truly delight the people you’re designing for.
It goes beyond just knowing stuff. You also need to do stuff and do it well. You have to draw on the language of interaction. You have to experiment and prototype. You have to interpret the feedback you receive and adjust your thinking.
What the folks creating bad designs are missing is good knowledge and skills. Without these, they produce crappy designs.
The good news is we now know, thanks to a ton of research in recent years, what much of the knowledge and skills are. We know how to take designers who regularly produce bad designs and turn them into designers who produce good designs, and eventually, great designs.
It’s a great era to be a designer. There’s so much to learn. There’s so much to do.Tweet