UX visualized as an iceberg

Teacher Response to Module #3: Design Is Just One Small, Important Part

Business Keeping

Grades and individual feedback on Canvas. Be sure to check for feedback from your “client.” (See below).

Congrats, you’re a designer! (sort of)

So, at this point I get excited because I see you actually applying the principles you’ve learned. So, by default: you’re now all designers! You know how to apply good design principles when working on a project.

At the same time, if you want to be a full-fledged graphic designer, web designer, etc., someone who does the visual design all day long, you’ve got years of work ahead of you. I don’t call myself a designer for that reason. I have designed many things, but I can’t just take a concept from start to finish and make something like this website my side business designed for a local printing company: http://morganprinters.com/

This is just to say: if you want to be a graphic designer or web designer, you’ll need to invest serious hours to get to the level in which you can create designs of sufficient quality to actually get paid to do it.

But, you know some of the most important stuff

Again, the most important thing I want you to get from this class is not necessarily skills, but a mindset. You now have a lot of knowledge at your disposal.

  • You’ve got one of the best design books I’ve found in 8+ years of paying attention to this field.
  • You understand something about information architecture, one of the most neglected components of any kind of information medium.
  • You understand how to take a crappy design and improve it, even if only marginally

The other skills necessary for being something like a web or graphic designer are all learnable. This mindset, in my experience of working with lots of people who can make pretty things, is much harder to come by.

If you take nothing else from this class, remember that design is not just about making things pretty. It’s about making things useful to real, live people.

What to do with your “client”

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I will be playing the role of your fictional client in these last few modules. So, you’ll get a response from me, your teacher, and a separate response from me as your client.

As you will quickly learn: your client does not know jack about design. They are vaguely unsatisfied, but you’re not sure why.

Some tips for dealing with them:

  1. At any time, you can ask them questions. In fact, you are encouraged to. Be specific. Quote their responses and ask them specific follow-ups. Give them specific choices to make. Just email me directly with your questions and I’ll get you in touch with them ;-).
  2. Treat them as you would a confused child. You don’t explain to a child the full sociological ramifications of why they can’t have a cookie after brushing their teeth. You give them alternatives. What you could do is have a nice story, instead.
  3. At the same time, avoid being condescending. Explain principles. Explain why it’s a good idea to do X or Y. They may still argue with you. How much you cave to their demands is part of the art of working with clients ;-).
  4. And don’t forget to focus on the other research you’ve done! One of the best arguments why you’re doing something is: because look at all these competitors that are doing it better than you currently are, client!

If you do all this, your final response from your client (in response to your final draft of your final project) will be somewhat more satisfied. (Clients are never fully satisfied).

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