Through the Adventure podcast I was lucky enough to interview Tom Greever, author of Articulating Design Decisions, a book I enjoyed reading a few months ago. I’ve brought you some of the highlights in hopes that it will inspire you to also be articulate about all the decisions that you make.
Greever didn’t originally expect to have a design career.
“I sort of accidentally found myself in full-time design roles as soon as I was out of college. I expected to be more of a businessperson I think -the marketing side of things.”
Luckily for us, marketing turned him onto design. However, a full-time designer doesn’t spend 100% of their time designing.
“This is stuff I do everyday. I design for a living, but I probably spend 50% of my time telling other people why I did what I did.”
If you’re thinking, “But, Hannah, ‘good design speaks for itself,’” then Greever explains why that simply isn’t true.
“That’s definitely a point where I would disagree with a lot of people. I don’t think good design does speak for itself. We are the advocates for our users and our work… they need to understand the logic and reason behind why we did what we did.”
Being able to articulate design decisions isn’t something you do once a project is complete.
“You absolutely have to be doing it from the beginning…We’re not accustomed to asking ourselves the right questions as we work.”
Greever goes more into the foundational questions that his book is based around. He explains that it is mainly about your ability to answer three questions:
What problem does this solve?
How does it affect the user?
Why is it better than the alternative?
No matter what field you are in, it’s important to be able to explain your decisions. Like almost everything else in the world, practice is one of the best ways to get better. Practice writing an explanation about why it’s important for you to work from home some days. Practice giving a speech about a topic you care about. If you don’t explain it, others may never understand.
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