I’m always looking for ways to collaborate with people inside and outside the project team. Everyone has experience that shapes how they perceive information and complete certain tasks. Bringing more people into the fold by asking for informal feedback or user testing prototypes allows me to double check my assumptions and make a more accessible experience for more people.
Apparently, the average human has an attention span of 12 seconds. That seems kind of long. If someone doesn’t instantly know how to interact with a design, they wouldn’t use the thing. Keep interactions focused so it’s clear what actions you want them to make. Follow mental models unless there’s a compelling reason not to.
The devil is in the details when it comes to separating exceptional design from everything else. The role of the designer is to anticipate for every instance and every potential pitfall before anyone else can think of one. Sure—there might be some sleep lost thinking about pixels, but there’s nothing better than knowing I’ve turned over every stone.
The most important thing you can do for yourself and the greater good is to be yourself. Knowing my ethical stance on certain things has guided my career to lean into opportunities that were aligned with my values and to avoid those that I felt were wrong for me.
A designer has to be equal parts visionary and pragmatic. You have to know what battles to fight, and when you DO choose to fight, you shouldn't give up on your expert opinion. My gut instinct has been my loudest advocate when it comes to creating meaningful work. If something feels off, then it probably is.
On the flipside, one of my mentors once told me that “If you wouldn’t stress about something in 4 years, it’s not worth stressing about now”. As designers, we have a tendency to be able to nitpick details forever, but I found it’s more important to deliver on time than spend additional time overthinking if something is good enough.
© Doug Knapton 2021