I’m tired of “Well it works…”.

By Posted in - design theory & Experience Design on December 4th, 2011

Because no, it doesn’t! To hear ‘well it works’ is one of the most frustrating responses one can hear coming from those who make decisions about a products development. ‘It works’ to an engineer and ‘it works’ to a normal person, who is trying to accomplish a task, mean two entirely different things. To an engineer it means it is possible. While it may be technically possible, it does not ‘work right’ or ‘work smart’ for someone who does not think the way ‘it works’ for an engineer is a way it makes sense for the task to be accomplished. If it takes me 12 clicks and with any or all being completely hidden or unintuitive to do something as simple as setting an alarm on a cellphone (a very common task) then it does NOT work, even if it is possible. Hearing ‘well it works’ is usually a sign that the current design is viewed as adequate or ‘good enough’.

 

But that leads to another one of the most frustrating responses that can be heard ‘it’s good enough’. I understand that constraints are ever present in every design situation. There is never enough time, never enough understanding of who the user is, always just a few more tweaks that can be made to make a design just that much better. I also understand that embracing constraints and reacting to the situation can inspire even more innovative work. But to hear ‘it’s good enough’ is a cop out. It can always be better. You can’t let that stop you from delivering, but to just write off a piece of a design as adequate and ‘good enough’ will never lead to a pleasurable experience for anyone who interacts with the design. The devil is in the details and as a designer it is always disheartening to hear someone involved with a product who does not care enough about the product to always be thinking of ways to iterate on it to make it the best it can be.

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