Performing design duties

My moday morning ramble. Not too long. Just long enough to read before your coffee grows cool in your mug.

There are a happy multitude of things that go into a design position. Some are a little easier to forget and walk over without settling down and taking considered stock of the landscape, the product or offering,. and your place within that world.

Design is much more than how a thing looks. Steve Jobs famously said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how¬†it works.” If there was anyone closely attuned with the process and someone who stressed excellence more than he, I am not aware of such a person.

Too often technologies are discovered or developed and then a team looks to see what they may apply that technology to. This can indeed work some of the time if the technology is that ground-breaking and impactful. But strive for the inverse relationship – what do users want and need – and then fig8re out the technology to deliver those things to them in a way that is pleasant, impactful, approachable, and affordable. Taking this idea further, user experiences can also be based upon how a product is intended to make a user FEEL. What can be done to deliver the utility and the associated emotional impact on their use with your product and brand? IOt could be color, fit and finish, materials, environmental impact, consideration on how it plays with other products in a line or system, it’s repairability, it’s ability to be mobile, or how it behaves on battery.

Experiences are things that can be qualified and/or quantified for its potential as delivered. You do not need to develop a complete and final solution. Why waste time and energies on an idea that may not resonate as well as a team thought it may? You don’t need to consume yourself or a team just yet with technical solutions. You want to provide experiences, paper prototypes, low or medium fidelity applications, ideas, thoughts, process, deliveries to internal and external people. Gauge the experience. Refine the experience. Listen to feedback and apply it without ego or condition.

It’s easier to scarf a fast food burger and fries than it is to delicately prepare and eat a finely cooked lemon pepper salmon steak. One satisfies a hunger, the other does so while also providing enhanced nutrition and individual participation in its preparation.

Take care of your approach, your visual design, your presentation, your approaches, your membership, your impact, and tresults. There may be times when you feel pressure to “just get. it done” but deep down you know it may take longer hours to provide dependable material, and you should be willing to provide that effort. Your work is your billboard to those you work for – even if that is yourself alone. Others notice and will want to have you part of future endeavors.

You may run into culture clashes or personalities that look at technologies merely as a means to an end that provides them an opportunity to one-sidedly apply their own skills to a task. While such skills are worthy and warranted – they should not provide a singular side of a looking glass in lieu of a larger picture. We all think we know what is best in our own way – it’s how we accept others and their skilled contributions to serve as ingredients to thoughtful and considered solutions that can provide the best utility and activity. It can be a balancing act – but never give in to ideas or activities just because it may be easier to do so. Do not compromise your desire and ability to deliver high-quality work that does not surround itself with solution space material too soon. Let an idea germinate and play itself out before looking to solve the situation with deliverable real-world deployments. Yes, it’s true, real artists ship, as Steve Jobs also famously once said to his Macintosh team at Apple. But an artist has to know that the paint and the surfaces and the proposed imagery is something that will work and be desired before fully tackling.

Enjoy the last sip of your coffee and have a wonderful week!

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