Design For The Fucking “Why?”

A rant with good intentions.

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I don’t like rants, as they tend to sound negative and cranky. Sometimes, however they do a better job at communicating a message, as their content is unsolicited and somewhat heartfelt. So, for that reason (and because I’ve always wanted to use the word “fuck” over and over in a blog post) I‘m making an exception.

So, here we fucking go:

There is a phenomena taking place in the design community where many are prioritizing the visual representation and “cool” transition effects side of things at the expense of user experience. This is most apparent in online design communities but also when talking to designers and design teams.

There are countless colorful and refreshing designs out there, with super awesome transition effects, but a good amount of them utterly fail the “Why?” test.

Why did the designer who created a clean and slick looking invoice leave out important information expected to be in an invoice?

Sure, it does look slick but it is also fucking useless.

Why did the design team from a reputable bank decide to occupy nearly 30% of the web dashboard with a header containing a playful illustration of the city’s skyline?

I love my city’s skyline but when I login to my bank account my primary goal is to get to the numbers not see a giant illustration of it that changes colors based on the time of the day. It surely looks gorgeous and refreshing but it is also fucking pointless.

Why did the app designer decided to animate every single UI element in the app view?

Yes, the transition effects are impressive but also confusing, oh and fucking useless.

I could go on and on but criticizing other designers is not the purpose of this post as at times I also find myself “dazzled” by the latest “design trends”, making similar mistakes at the expense of UX (Fucking UX, always in the way!).

A good rule of thumb to help avoid such trap is to ask ourselves the “Why?” for every decision that will affect the UX in our designs. The answer has to be convincing, but if ends up being something along the lines of: “Because it fucking looks gorgeous!”, start from scratch!

Eventually you will know when a design is “ready”, as all the pain in the ass decisions you had to make to get there have now morphed into a story, a story about how your design will make a difference in the users lives, a story you’ll be able to defend with confidence when put in front of others, you will feel passionate about it, you’ll be able to influence others with it.

The core of every great product is made of meaningful experiences, that look aesthetically pleasing — in that particular order. Ask the “Why?”, create meaningful experiences, and in time you will realize that the sense of fulfillment that comes from making a difference in the users lives, is by far greater than the temporarily excitement that comes from compliments and likes on social media.

Thank you for reading.

I write about Product Design, Interaction Design and IoT. Follow me for future posts related to these topics and please recommend this post to others if you enjoyed it :)