I recently completed two years in designing digital interfaces (mostly web). I’m yet to scratch the surface of digital design but it seemed like a good time to look back in retrospective.
Here are couple of things that I realized in the past two years:
Learning to see
I don’t have a formal education in design (I’ve a bachelors of engineering), so I had almost zero idea how design worked at a deeper level. During my first job I found it extremely difficult to make design decisions backed by reasons. Rather, they were more opinionated and copied (inspired?). However, with the help from the wonderful folks at Miranj, I gradually started to “see design.”
Whenever I saw an interface they encouraged me to think why is it like that, and not like this. Why is this button placed here and not there. And the more I obsessed, the better I learned to see. The process is still ongoing and I am no where close to expert designers who see more, and more precisely.
However, I think this is only half part of the learning. We also need to have the vision of people for whom we are designing. How would they see?
You need a design eye to design, and a non-designer eye to feel what you designed. iA.net
The second thing that I realized was that being thoughtful is important. Like, really important. It doesn’t matter what tools we use. It doesn’t matter what skills we have. If we are not thoughtful about the things we design and for people who we are designing for, the end result is going to be a crap.
If you can’t draw as well as someone, or use the software as well, or if you do not have as much money to buy supplies, or if you do not have access to the tools they have, beat them by being more thoughtful. Thoughtfulness is free and burns on time and empathy. Frank Chimero