Perfection will Kill your Design
Why good enough is the way to excellence and value With this post, I want to share a piece of advice with people who are starting their journey on the Designer’s path or have recently started. Approaches like the Lean Design and Design sprints have become more or less the norm these days. Yet, it seems many new designers think they should only deliver perfect designs. If it is not perfect then it should not be shared or implemented. This often makes me wonder what is the definition of perfect design. Based on what I’ve experienced, Design is the change that drives things toward valuable improvement. It is impossible to hit a final state of perfection where no more improvements can be made. For that to happen everything that your design interacts with should never change. If by any chance you have a definition or an example of perfect design please do share in the responses section. I’ve noticed too many times the mentality of “we’ve got one shot and one opportunity”. That is so rarely the reality. Especially when the consequences of your design choices carry a small risk and can be reversed easily. When making a mistake can impact people’s lives and the environment, you should aim to invest more effort and time. The air travel and health industry are an example of such fields. The designs there need to be tested until they can withstand all foreseeable use cases without causing negative effects. But even in these cases, you should not postpone implementation until the “perfect” design is ready. It will kill your design. Striving for perfection will increase costs. After that, the sunk cost effect will cause a loop of chasing the impossible perfection and deliver nothing. Instead, try to adopt the mentality of “It’s good enough for now”. Frequently it will prove to be the right approach. Taking many shots at your target and adjusting your aim after every shot is a great way to move forward. It allows for speeding up the learning and thus helping the designs to evolve in the right direction. Perfection is an enemy of evolution and progress. It is better to focus on Excellence as a long-term goal. Because it is achievable with many “good enough” iterations! Sadly, even if you agree that implementing non-perfect solutions many times is the right way, your stakeholders might not be on the same page. When you share your design with stakeholders and their expectations are to see perfection you will face interesting situations and debates. Comments like “I hope that is not your usual approach towards all design you do”, or something along those lines will be shared. This might make you feel bad that you did not invest more time before sharing the design. Not delivering perfectly polished designs as a Designer can be perceived as a lack of care about the outcome. But, it is quite the opposite. The desire to improve the product will make you want to speed up the learning feedback loop by sharing earlier design iterations. When these types of situations happen sooner or later don’t let it go to your head and heart. Accept that people will judge! It is simply human nature. Being a designer requires to grow thick skin and act as a patient educator. Aim to teach people that the current design they see is only a step in the long journey to excellence. » Read More
Like to keep reading?
This article first appeared on uxdesign.cc. If you'd like to keep reading, follow the white rabbit.