Accepting Design Defeat

Accepting Design Defeat

As a web designer, I occasionally imagine myself as the guy with the black beret and turtle neck.

The snobby designer with all the right opinions. Fancy “euro-style” accent. Usability expert. Typography expert. Color scheme master.  Its at that moment it would be wise to take a step back.  Forget current design trends. Forget how the site would rate in a design gallery.

Forget how good the site would be in my portfolio. Forget designing the site in “my” style. Think about the client.  Here’s what happens to me: The client shows me their current logo.

I look at it as a “designer” and hate it. Its out of style. The colors collide.  The font choice is stupid.

Immediately I’ve stopped acting for the client and am shifting into forcing my “designer will” upon them mode of thinking.  “Designer will” brings about instances where the clients request or idea for the site gets met with opposition from the designer that is based in trend (or other outside influence) rather than the designer thinking in a supportive role.

For example:  The client has a business that is on an island, near the sea, whatever.

The client wants to add ocean sounds and seagulls sounds etc to the website.  “Designer will” immediately wants to kill the seagull sounds.  Ocean sounds too but there’s a chance of compromise.  This course of thought is working against the project.  I myself have done this.  I tell the client the horrid tale of the secretary trying to look at their site while at work and having loud seagull sounds suddenly alert the powers that be to her unfavorable internet usage.  This usually wins my case.

The better mental approach is say something like, “Sure we can do your (stupid) seagull sounds, but lets give the visitor the choice to hear them or not, rather than forcing the sounds on them as the page loads.”  See how happy that is?

You’re now using your designer powers for good, rather than for the sake of design itself.


About Joseph R. B. Taylor

Joseph R. B. Taylor is a humble designer/developer who makes stuff for screens of all shapes and sizes. He is currently the lead UI/UX Architect at MScience, LLC, where he works to create simple experiences on top of large rich datasets for their customers and clients.