The inevitability of consistency is as consistent as the consistency of inevitability.
Of course it is. Life continues on, whether we want it to or not.
But the outcomes of that life are only as inevitable as the consistency with which we live.
In design, the outcomes of any product are only as inevitable as the consistency with which a designer applies their craft. Deliberate application of empathetic practices will inevitably produce human-centered products that consistently fulfill their purpose.
On the flip side, consistently ignoring human behavior and motivation will inevitably lead to poorly-designed products that hardly ever reach their goals.
I tend to underestimate how long it will take to finish a project. If you’ve seen my Dribbble feed, I’ve been posting shots of my current work-in-progress, a casual mobile game called Mars Descent. I started development in early December, and told myself I’d be done before Christmas.
It’s now January 3rd.
It’s not for a lack of work (I’ve been spending 5+ hours on the project every day), but rather that some things have taken longer to design and develop than I originally thought.
And that’s okay. Sometimes we have to simply adjust our expectations as to when things will be done, as well as how things will look. And we learn from it, so that in the future, we don’t underestimate again (or at least, not as egregious of an underestimation as before).
It’s amazing how sound affects how we experience things. Of course it does, it’s one of our primary senses.
Some apps don’t use a lot of sound, like Gmail or Instagram (unless the content is video). Others use sound to precision, like Duo Lingo and other gamified apps.
Users engage with what they hear just as much as with what they see. Music and sounds can invoke emotions, memories, feelings and other reactions from users. It’s important we be just as deliberate with our sounds as we are with our visuals.
I’m the kind of person who always has to have a project to work on. I think I get that from my grandma. Her house was always filled with half-finished projects that she didn’t care if we messed with. I loved that about her. As a kid, it made visits to her house magical.
As a creative, though, I recognize the folly of that pattern of behavior. If you’re always starting new things and never finishing what you start, you end up with a room (or a hard drive) of unfinished things.
It’s something I’ve had to learn to overcome. Like my grandma, I have plenty of unfinished things. Understanding how to stay committed and see things through is why I also have plenty of finished things.
I learned C# in November.
I designed and developed a video game in December.
It’s amazing how closely designing a product is to how it’s developed. How intricate the relationship is between the architecture and the engineering. There are a hundred ways to code a solution to a problem. Naturally, working with an engineer to determine the best solution is a valuable skill.
The way a product is engineered determines how someone will use it, after all.
There is something to be said for for norms. They help us operate together in a functional way. Workplace norms, familial norms, design norms, technical norms, etc.
But there’s a gray area we all operate in, and that gray area is a wonderful place. It’s the place that allows us to be ourselves, to be unique, to learn and grow and be different.
People will give you advice. In your designs, in your work, in your projects. They’ll tell you how things have to be done. And sometimes, they’re right. Norms have their place, after all. But when advice can be taken with a grain of salt, take all the grains you need.
My wife and I were talking last night about Christmas trees. I like modern, aesthetically pleasing decor. She likes home-made elementary school ornaments and popcorn strings.
We compromised this year, and did a blend of both on our tree. It doesn’t look like I want it to, but it wouldn’t be a compromise if it did. Of course, the kids like her version better.
I guess designing for the holidays isn’t any different than designing anything else. The only people seeing my tree this pandemic Christmas are my immediate family. And to them, it’s the best Christmas tree in the world.
Designers should be able to look at things and answer a simple question: why?
Of course, we’re interested in how things work. We’re interested in what they look like. We’re interested in when and where they are effective. We’re interested in who uses them. Al of these things help us understand what we’re designing.
If we focus on the why of why things work, those other things naturally follow suit. If we’re stuck trying figure out what something needs to looks like, we’ll miss out on everything else that makes a product great.
Gratitude is the antithesis of selfishness. Gratitude breeds recognition and comprehension. It’s important to think about what we’re grateful for every day, not just once a year.
The messages we receive from the media we consume tell us this is the time of year to think about what we’re grateful for, to hold our families and loved ones close.
Show gratitude every day. Hold your loved ones close always. Be grateful for your team members. Your life will be better.