Hey Designers, Don’t Make It Too Personal!

Mohamad Ariau Akbar
2 min readDec 7, 2015

Do you really believe that users are paying attention to gradients you made? or did they notice that one line stroke you made for couple hours?

When designing something, it’s easy to get drowned into the process itself, complexing the solution with ego, you get obsessed with details, because it matters! You put so much care on every pixels you’ve drawn, you nit picky margins between elements and white space around texts. You probably thought, that this, this design is a representation of yourself, you made it soo personal or maybe way too personal. Take the ownership they said, but is this ownership really a good thing?

You were in the designer’s high until you bring it to fellow designers, get it out the door to real users and within seconds you realised things are started to fall apart. Your designer friend was asking the reasoning behind design decisions you couldn’t answer. Even worse, users couldn’t figured out how to use your design. It supposed to be a solution but they are confused instead.

It hurts. I know. Things that you put so much time and care are not going to work. You made this design to be your medal not their solution—that’s why. Design is always evolving and meant to be fail. If you realised this from the start, everything could be easier, it’s not going to be that hurt. You know, sometimes perfection is evil. Long term design decision is not about making it right from the start, it’s about maintaining your design in the long run.

Design at some level would already met its objective if you focus on workflows, figure how it plays into their situation. Don’t push it too high in early stage. Don’t make it too personal, it makes you blind. Crappy visual that works is still way better than unusable shiny thing. Pause some time, take your breath and while looking to the screen, ask: “Is it really what they want?” “Is it really what they need?” and “Is it really solved their problem?”

70% of software design is probably about how it works instead of how it looks. The appearances at some degree will reach its peak no matter how good they are.

When you said, “No, it’s not enough” — is it your designer’s mind that speak? would you ever imagine what the actual user would say? it might be “No, It’s enough”. Remember, it’s not for yourself, you are designing for people out there. And If the solution is already there, make it stay, don’t stretch it out until proven otherwise.

Hard work is not solely about dwelling with design to make PIXEL PERFECTION. It’s about knowing what happens with your design, see it evolving, EVERYDAY. Is it working? is it failing? what could be improved? If you stop on pixel perfection, well, you are not closing the loop. Measure twice, cut once. Repeat. Be a designer that can close that loop faster and effective.