5 answers to finding your “why”
A sentence, which summarises past 11 years of my involvement in design and user experience. It was always my rule #1 to not stand in one place, go against the current, learn something new, use it and seek for more. A constant movement as a fight against burnout. Not always it has made sense, but the experiment was the key. With this in mind, I can learn from multiple mistakes and periods, from a narcissist artist who didn’t respect the client at all, to working just for money, but I know that everything lead to a better answer to the most important question.
Imagine you are with a new potential client, discussing his needs. What’s on your mind?
Can this project make a shitload of money?
Or is the client well-known, so you can build your name on it?
Or maybe, can the final product be something you’ll be proud of?
1) Discover the sense of a project
The question “why” is also the first I’m asking. I need to know what sense does it make to create something new, redesigns the existing, or why even have the product — what is the purpose, how is it different, for whom is it meant. If you don’t know the answer in the beginning, what you create is random and a waste of money. But if you know, your relationship with the project will be long term.
2) Don’t lose sight of a project
The project shouldn’t end with the handover. If I know why the project exists, the result/outcome is equally important, and you should know how to measure it. If the result is not what both sides wanted, take a step back and work further on it. Set up the expectations at the beginning — the road plan and the result.
3) Be an architect
I always ask for all the data which makes sense, from analytics to corporate presentations, heat maps, or customer testings. I design the product with the full knowledge of data and background, minimising the guessing. At the end, I know how we get there and can explain it.
4) Minimise like/dislike
If you know the purpose, result and have data, you have found to create basic mapping, structures, wireframes and concepts, which are not just some random design expression. Select and test the favourites. The beautiful design comes last — it’s built on all the knowledge, making the creativity on point. Bold functional design versus a few design shots chosen with like/dislike technique.
If we always follow the test results and common practices, no innovation would ever be made.
When I have an idea for a new solution without proper reference, I want to go for it. Most of the time it works like magic, sometimes it’s a disaster, to be honest. That’s the price you should be willing to pay for trying something new. I would be bored, not exploring, making things predictable without this.
And yet, stand in one place.
Academy of Art, Architecture and Design in Prague, Graphic Design and New Media. Besides doing design & UX for more than 11 years, spent last 3 building products and innovations for corporations and startups. Awarded ex Creative Director at U+, Ex CEO of U+Design. User Experience and startup lecturer, talked in Prague, New York or San Francisco.
This is Garcy founder and lifestyle blogger.