Communicate very explicitly what you think success in your role looks like: don’t assume people know, and don’t assume ill intent. If an engineer you work with thinks your job is to make things look pretty because she hasn’t ever worked with a designer before, it’s not her fault. She’s not against you. She doesn’t devalue you. She simply doesn’t have another mental model of what designers do. So explain it to her. Help her understand what design is all about. My goal is to make this feel like an easy-to-use experience that our customers love, not just to make each screen look nice. Or My goal is to help us arrive at the product idea will work the best for people. Or My goal is to help us get to a shared vision of what problems our product could solve a year out. Say this over and over again with any new person you work with. Yes, it might seem tiring — why doesn’t everyone know already? In time, they will. But someone has to explain it to them first. Why not you?
Customers judge online credibility by evaluating visual design, copywriting, and interactions. If trust matters to your business, then design details should matter too. Check out the academic literature on the topic of interface design and trust, or look into Stanford’s Web Crediblity Project.
Designers notice the gap between functional and delightful, and that’s why we obsess over the little details. (littlebigdetails.com) But there’s a very real tradeoff between perfecting the design details and building more functionality: getting the details right often means moving slower.